Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Pierre Landais, 10 January 1806

Washington City,
January the 10th. 1806.

Please Your Excellency

To permit me begging as a favour to have a Committee composed of three Members, acquainted each, with the principles of Geometry and Mathematics; the principles of Phisics; the diffirent situations and cases of Vessels, either, sailing, or laying to at Sea, or at Anchor in harbour; and the requisites qualities they must have for to be as perfect as possible. That I may first demonstrate before them, that the Method, called geometrical, attributed to Mr. De L’hopital, which the Ship-wright generally follow and use for making their Plans of Vessels, is so defective that it is impossible to make ever a perfect Vessel by it: And next to demonstrate, that, the Plans which I shall submit to their view, are so combined by my new method, unknown to others, that the Vessels built on them shall be as perfect on all accounts as can ever be any Vessels having the same principal Dimensions.

Therefore if my praier thereabouts be granted, I think the proper place where to have it done, will be in a large room in the Secretary of Naval Department Hotel, which room must be provided with a sufficient number of tables, where on to place at once my Plans, besides several sheets of papers on which are figures, and calculations relative thereto; and because there may be had models of Vessels, whereby to illustrate and explain easier and better said Demonstrations: And that a Saturday be appointed to make said Demonstrations, for the Conveniency of the Honourable Members of Congress of all Denominations, who will be present; as altho’ all other officers of the United States, principally the Naval Officers, and Ship-wrights, as by standers.

And please Your Excellency to let me know Your approbation, and changes you shall think proper in the above dispositions, if my prayer be granted; of Your denial if not?

I am with the greatest respect Your Excellency Most humble and dutiful Servant—

P Landais: Lodged at the

City Tavern, kept by Wm Rhodes—

Washington City.

ViW: Jefferson Papers, Tucker-Coleman Collection.

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