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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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9021. WASHINGTON (George), National monument to.—
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9021. WASHINGTON (George), National monument to.—

In a former letter I
enclosed you an idea of Mr. Lee's for an immediate
appropriation of a number of lots to raise
a sum of money for erecting a national monument
in the city of Washington. It was scarcely
to be doubted but that you would avoid appropriations
for matters of ornament till a sufficient
sum should be secured out of the proceeds
of your sales to accomplish the public
buildings, bridges and such other objects as are
essential. Mr. Caracchi, the artist, who had
proposed to execute the monument, has had
hopes that a subscription set on foot for that
purpose, would have sufficed to effect it. That
hope is now over, and he is about to return to
Europe. He is unquestionably an artist of
the first class. He has had the advantage of
taking the President's person in plaster, equal
to every wish in resemblance and spirit. It is
pretty certain that the equestrian statue of the
President can never be executed by an equal
workman, who has had equal advantages, and
the question is whether a prudent caution will
permit you to enter into any engagement now,
taking time enough before the term of payment
to have accomplished the more material objects
of the public buildings, &c. He says to execute
the equestrian statue, with the cost of the materials,
in marble, will be worth twenty thousand
guineas; that he would begin it on his return,
if four or five years hence you can engage to
pay him twenty thousand dollars, and the same
sum annually afterwards, till the whole is paid,
before which time the statue will be ready. It
is rather probable that within some time Congress
would take it off your hands, in compliance
with an ancient vote of that body. The
questions for your consideration are, whether,
supposing no difficulty as to the means, you
think such a work might be undertaken by you?
Whether you can have so much confidence in the
productiveness of your funds as to engage for a
residuum of this amount, all the more necessary
objects being first secured, and that this May
be within the time first proposed? And, in
fine, which will preponderate in your minds,
the hazard of undertaking this now, or that of
losing the aid of the artist? The nature of this
proposition will satisfy you that it has not been
communicated to the President, and of course
would not be, unless a previous acceptance on
your part, should render it necessary to obtain
his sanction. Your answer is necessary for the
satisfaction of Mr. Caracchi, at whose instance
I submit the proposal to you, and who, I believe,
will only wait here the return of that
To the Commissioners of Washington. Washington ed. iii, 346.