It costs HOW MUCH more in Washington?


[Transporting about 24,000 books will require] … eleven waggon loads …
It is said that waggon hire at Washington [D.C.] is eight dollars a day, finding themselves here it is exactly half that price … I think it would be better, therefore, to employ the waggons of this neighborhood … I presume a waggon will go loaded in seven days, and return empty in six, and allowing one for loading and accidents, the trip will be of a fortnight and come to $56* [per wagon].

Observations on the Transportation of the Monticello Library,
February 27, 1815
The Complete Jefferson, Assembled by Saul K. Padover, c. 1943, P. 1069-70

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Economy-minded leaders are cautious with money (sometimes**).

In the previous post, Jefferson described how his library was to be packaged for transport to Washington. Here, he calculated the cost to do so.

  • Padover provides this interesting footnote to counter Jefferson’s claim that local transport wagons cost half of what they did in the nation’s capital:
    “Joseph Doughterty***, the master wagoner, wrote to Samuel Harrison Smith (a Washington newspaper publisher and good friend of Jefferson’s), on March 20:
    “I will now state what my travelling expenses will amount to per day – so that you may see what my compensation would amount to per day. Horse-hire, $1.25 per day; breakfast, $0.50; dinner, $0.75; supper and lodging, $0.75, for gallons oats and hay, $0.87. Expense per day, $4.12.”
    Daugherty asked for $6.00 per day, but was finally paid $5.00.”

** Jefferson was notoriously conservative at spending public funds but often just the opposite with his own money. I can’t determine whether the cost for transport was Jefferson’s or Congress’, but I would guess the former.

*** Dumas Malone, the definitive Jefferson biographer, referred to Dougherty as “Jefferson’s old coachman.” That would put Dougherty in the Charlottesville area, rather than from Washington. He disproved Jefferson’s assertion of $4/day/wagon. (Volume Six, Jefferson and his Time, The Sage of Monticello, P. 181)

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Self-Educated American Thomas Jefferson Editor, Patrick Lee, is a professional speaker, actor and writer. Since 1990, he has inspired, entertained and educated audiences from Maine to Hawaii with his authentic, first person leadership presentations as President Thomas Jefferson, Frontiersman Daniel Boone, and Lewis & Clark Co-Leader William Clark. He also appears as himself, The Hopeful Humorist™, with a program of motivational humor, patriotism and inspiration.

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