To Thomas Jefferson September 15, 1788
From the original letter at the Library of Congress.
Sepr. 15th —
This letter was intended to go by the last dispatches of Mr, Bartholemey but was late — I have since seen a New-York paper of the 8th of August in which there is a circular letter from the Convention of New-York signed by the President (Governor Clinton) to the several Legislatures which states, that altho’ they had acceded to the federal Constitution, from principles of regard to the Union, it was, in the opinion of the majority of them, exceptionable in many points, and recommending that another Convention be hereafter assembled — agreeable to the precision made in the Bens Whetson, for the purpose of reforming altering &c — nothing particular, as to defect, is provided at in the Circular letter, the aspersions are general, and they disclaim all local Ideas.
A motion was made in Congress that the new Congress meet at Baltimore which was carried 7 States 6 6 — the question was reconsidered the next day — and carried 7 6 6 for New York, in this State it stood when she Expel Yates.
It was said sometime ago in the English News papers, that five officers of the Swedish Army had withdrawn and refused to serve, because the King had undertaken an offensive War, without consulting and having the concurrence of the Senate, agreeabke to an Article in this term of government; but a gentleman who is intimate of Baron Nolkins the Swedish Minister tells me that a third of the officers have made that objection, which has disabled the progress of the Swedish Army in Finland.
Whether I shall set off a Catenarian Arch or an Arch of a Circle I have not yet determined, but I mean to set off both and take my choice — There is one objection against a Catenarian Arch, which is that the Iron tubes being all cast in one form will not usually fit every part of it.
An Arch of a Circle may be sett off to any extent by calculating the Ordinates, at equal distances on the diameter. In this case, the Radius will always be the Hypotenuse. The portion of the diameter be the Base, and the Ordinate the perpendicular or the Ordinate may be found by Trigonometry in which the Base, Hypotenuse & right angle will be always given —
I think the Arch will appear rather handsome if the direction of the Blocks and Walls were always in the direction of the Radius as I first proposed but which I changed in the drawing and placed as perpendicular to the Cord instead of the Curve to remedy the inconvenience of the diverging of the Bolts as you mentioned —
In a very large Arch of 5 or 600 feet Cord, this diverging will be considerable about 3 or 4 tenths of an inch on every two feet — but this difficulty may be effectually remedied, and the direction of the radius preserved by making the Bar in line halves, with half a hole in each; they will then be put on sideways and may be united by clamps. This method will exceedingly facilitate the raising or pulling the Arch together, shorten the time of the Work on the River very considerably. I am not fond of hazarding opinions, neither is it proper or prudent to do it, but I think that after every thing is prepared, a Bridge over such a River as the Seine, might be put in three months time or less, as all the Arches would be began on at once, and the work would admit of as many hands being emplyed at the same time as you please.
I have not heard any thing of Mr. Littlepage since I left Paris — if you have, I shall be glad to know it — As he dined sometimes at Mr. Neckar’s, he undertook to describe the Bridge to him — Mr. Neckar very readily conceived it — if you have an opportunity of seeing Mr. Neckar, and see it convenient to renew the subject you might mention that I am going forward with an experiment Arch —
Mr. Le Couteulx desired me to examine the construction of the Albion Steam Mills erected by Bolton and Watts — I have not yet written to him because I had nothing to write about — I have talked with Mr. Rumsey who is here, upon this matter, and who appears to me to be master of that subject and who has procured a model of the Mill, which is worked originally from the Steam, but it will be necessary to know what proposals Mr. Le Coaleulx will make to any person who will undertake to construct his spare Steam Engines, of which he has one always in each Building, into a Mill, and conduct the operation — in this case Mr. Rumsey appears to me the very person Mr. Le Coaleulx wants — the enclosed letter to Mr. Le Coaleulx is on thsi subject.
There has been some proposals passed on each side between Dalton and Rumsey in which I thank the former has taken advantage of the unsuspicious openess of the latter.
I have again enquired about the map, and find it is engraving at the place you mentioned — It will be 8 feet by 6 and the price about 2 guineas, but they cannot tell me the time it will be finished — I informed you of the Air pumb in my letter to you by Mr. Quesney — When you see Mr. Le Roy please to present my compliments — I hope I shall now realize the opinion of the Academy on the Model — in which case I shall give the Academy the proper information —
We have no certain accounts here of the arrangement of the new Ministry — the papers mention Count St. Priest for foreign Affairs — when you see him please to present my Compliments.
The New York Packet is arrived this morning she sailed the eighth of Augt and brings nothing new — The majority on the Convention of N. York was but three —
The question for the meeting of Congress at Philadelphia was put and lost —
Please to present my compliment to M. and Madame de Corney.