Letter from William Elliot to John Quincy Adams, President of the Columbian Institute, December 19, 1822

ID: SIA RU007051 [SIA_007051_S02_B01_F01_D16]


Form/Genre: Letters (correspondence)

Date: 1822

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7051, Columbian Institute Records, Image No. SIA_007051_S02_B01_F01_D16

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Letter from William Elliot to John Q. Adams, President of the Columbian Institute, relative to books, instruments, etc. left by Rudolph Schaer, dated 19 December 1822.

Cite as

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7051, Columbian Institute Records, Image No. SIA_007051_S02_B01_F01_D16

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520


  • 1822
  • December 19, 1822

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Letters (correspondence)

Local number

SIA RU007051 [SIA_007051_S02_B01_F01_D16]

Full Record

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Washington Decr. 19th 1822 Sir, About three years ago a gentleman of the name of Rodolph Schear, who came to this place to teach a school on the Pestillozian plan; but not meeting with satisfactory encouragement, he left this city for the West Indies. Before his departure he left in my charge a quantity of books, minerals, and philosophical instruments: with a request that in case of death, or any accident to prevent his return, the [[underlined]]minerals[[/underlined]] should be given to the Columbian Institute (of which he was a member): they consist of about 3000 specimens, chiefly European. He died on his passage back again: and Mr. Salomon of the Tres. Dep. has administered to his estate for the benefit of his relations in Switzerland. Mr. S. does not think himself authorized to give up the minerals without some equivalent. The object of this note is to learn from you as President of the Col. Institute whether or no any steps should be taken to retain or to make some compensation for the minerals; or to give them up to Mr. S. to be sold amongst his other effects. His gift was made verbally before a witness. As the articles will be sold in a few days, if no steps be taken, an early answer is requested. I am, most respectfully, yours etc. Wm Elliot To the Hon. J.Q. Adams Pres. of the Col. Institute [[right curly bracket enclosing last two lines]]
[[blank page]] [[end page]] [[start page]] The preceding letter was sent to me by Mr. Elliot on the day after it was written. My first step was to ascertain when the minerals were to be sold. Accordingly I saw Mr. Salomon the administrator, and learnt from him that no time had been fixed for that purpose. I represented to him that an annual meeting of the Institute would be held on the evening of the 30[[superscript]]th[[/superscript]]. inst, and requested that the minerals should not be sold before that time; that the institute might have an opportunity of determining in a full meeting whether it would purchase them and at what price. Mr. Salomon readily acceded to my request; and assured me that he was very desirous that the Institute should possess the minerals. A day or two afterward I saw the minerals advertised for sale on the 30[[superscript]]th[[/superscript]]. I immediately had an interview with Mr. Salomon, who informed me that they had been advertised without his orders or knowledge, but that they should not be sold before the meeting of the Institute. At about 11 oclk on the morning of the 30[[superscript]]th[[/superscript]]. I again saw Mr. Salomon, and it was then agreed between us that I should offer the minerals to the Institute, that evening, for $150 (the sum at which they had been appraised) and that if the Institute declined giving that price they should be put up at auction; and that in any sale if the Institute would give as much as any other offerer, the Institute should have the preference. Mr. S's last words to me were [[underline]] an assurance that they should [[double underline]] not [[/double underline]] be sold on that day.[[/underline]] (over)
Soon after my first interview with Mr. Salomon, I saw Mr. Elliot and informed him of what had passed. I also told him that under the circumstances I had not deemed it necessary to trouble Mr. Adams on the subject, in which opinion Mr. Elliot concurred. A. Dickins. 31[[superscript]]st[[/superscript]] Dec[[superscript]]r[[/superscript]]. 1822 [[paper rotated to landscape format]] From William Elliot to the President of the Columbian Institute, relative to books, instruments, &c. left by Rodolph Schaer. [[double line]] Dated 19[[superscript]]th[[/superscript]]. Dec[[superscript]]r[[/superscript]]. 1822. [[double line]] The Hon. John Q. Adams President of the Columbian Institute