Tools of Democracy
Thomas Jefferson to Samuel H.
September 21, 1814
On learning of the burning of the Capitol and the
3,000-volume Library of Congress, Jefferson wrote to his friend
Samuel Smith asking him to offer Congress his personal library
of between "9 and 10,000 volumes" to replace "the devastations
of British vandalism at Washington." Jefferson promised to accept
any price set by Congress, commenting that "I do not know that
it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to
exclude from this collection . . . there is in fact no subject
to which a member of Congress may not have occasion to refer."