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Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The

Plaister will not answer for your external cornice


I

am, with much esteem, Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.

LETTER XC.--TO MESSRS. BUCHANAN AND HAY, August 13, 1785

TO MESSRS. BUCHANAN AND HAY.

Paris, August 13, 1785.

Gentlemen,

Your favor of March the 20th came to hand the 14th of June, and the next day I wrote to you, acknowledging the receipt, and apprizing you, that between that date and the 1st of August, it would be impossible to procure, and get to your hands, the drafts you desired. I did hope, indeed, to have had them prepared before this, but it will yet be some time before they will be in readiness. I flatter myself, however, they will give you satisfaction when you receive them, and that you will think the object will not have lost by the delay. It was a considerable time before I could find an architect whose taste had been formed on a study of the ancient models of his art: the style of architecture in this capital being far from chaste. I at length heard of one, to whom I immediately addressed myself, and who perfectly fulfils my wishes. He has studied twenty years in Rome, and has given proofs of his skill and taste, by a publication of some antiquities of this country. You intimate that you should be willing to

have a workman sent to you to superintend the execution of this work. Were I to send one on this errand from hence, he would consider himself as the superintendant of the Directors themselves, and probably, of the government of the State also. I will give you my ideas on this subject. The columns of the building, and the external architraves of the doors and windows, should be of stone. Whether these are made here or there, you will need one good stone-cutter; and one will be enough; because, under his direction, negroes, who never saw a tool, will be able to prepare the work for him to finish. I will therefore send you such a one, in time to begin work in the spring. All the internal cornices, and other ornaments not exposed to the weather, will be much handsomer, cheaper, and more durable in plaister, than in wood. I will therefore employ a good workman in this way, and send him to you. But he will have no employment till the house is covered; of course he need not be sent till next summer. I will take him on wages so long before hand, as that he may draw all the ornaments in detail, under the eye of the architect, which he will have to execute when he comes to you. It will be the cheapest way of getting them drawn, and the most certain of putting him in possession of his precise duty. Plaister will not answer for your external cornice, and stone will be too dear. You will probably find yourselves obliged to be contented with wood. For this,


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