[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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