Tag Archives: Philadelphia
I have got so far, my dear Martha, on my way to Philadelphia which place I shall not reach till the day after tomorrow. I have lost one day at Georgetown by the failure of the stages, and three days by having suffered myself to be persuaded at Baltimore to cross the bay and come by this route as quicker and pleasanter. After being forced back on the bay by bad weather in a first attempt to cross it, the second brought me over after a very rough passage, too late for the stage.—So far I am well, tho’ much fatigued.
To Martha Jefferson Randolph, February 28, 1797
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Some things are simply way beyond a leader’s control.
Jefferson wrote to his elder daughter about his journey to the nation’s Capitol, where he would be inaugurated as Vice-President four days later. It was not an easy trip.
From Monticello, he traveled to what would become Washington City (later Washington, D. C.), but he referred to it as Georgetown, now a region within urban D.C., northwest of the White House. The horse-drawn stages weren’t operating, and he lost one day. Then northeast to Baltimore, where he yielded to another’s advice to cross the Chesapeake Bay and then north to Philadelphia. Bad weather and rough water cost him three more days. He was still at least two days from his destination. He wrote this letter from Chestertown, MD, east across the Chesapeake from Baltimore.
He asked Martha to relay to her husband the prices that Virginia tobacco, wheat and cider were bringing in the cities.
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Observations on the weather
July hour thermom
1 9-0 AM 81 ½
7- PM 82
Weather Memorandum Book, 1776
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Analytical leaders make tiny observations over a long period of time.
Jefferson recorded thousands of everyday observations in his memorandum books. One of his subjects was weather. July 1, 1776 is the oldest surviving record of his lifelong habit of recording the temperature. Although July 1 didn’t fit the pattern, he tended to note the temperature at dawn, when he arose each day, and again around 4 PM. Those two times he considered to be the low and high temperatures for the day. The link above will take you to this book, and you can see the notations in Jefferson’s handwriting.
This page in his book covers the first 14 days of the month. July 1 had the fewest entries, just two. Most days show three or four measurements. July 8, 10, 13 & 14 have six. He would also note the weather, as when he recorded “rain” on July 13 & 14. The four temperatures for Independence Day were 6 AM – 68, 9 AM – 72 ¼, 1 PM – 76, 9 PM – 73 ½.
Weather freaks can read more about his daily observations and see photos of two of his thermometers.
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