Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to David Melville, 8 February 1822

To David Melville

Monto Feb. 8. 22.


Your favor of Jan. 23. was recd yesterday only. the facts mentioned in it had never fallen under my observn, and consequently had never been the subject of my1 considn. were I better acqd with the structure of light houses or of the lanterns used in them, of both of which I am entirely ignorant, yet I have been too long unfamiliarised with speculns of that nature and am too heavily pressed by the hand of age to hazard any hypothesis explanatory [of]2 the facts.3   your idea of keeping the oil pellucid by the warmth of the lamp itself is ingenious plausible4 & valble and I wish success to the process you propose as well on your own account5 as that of the benighted mariner. with assurances of my esteem & respect

Dft (MoSHi: TJC-BC); on verso of RC of Melville to TJ, 23 Jan. 1822. Recorded in SJL as a letter to “Melville David of R.I.”

1Word interlined.

2Omitted word editorially supplied.

3Preceding two words interlined in place of “it.”

4Word interlined.

5Reworked from “as well for your own sake.”

Index Entries

  • aging; TJ on his own search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; aging search
  • lamps; used in lighthouses search
  • lanterns search
  • lighthouses; proposed improvements to search
  • Melville, David; and lighthouses search
  • Melville, David; letter to search
  • oil; used in lighthouses search