Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Brown, 8 August 1790

To James Brown

New York Aug. 8. 1790.


As I shall shortly set out for Virginia, and shall have occasion there for some necessaries, I take the liberty of stating them herein, and of asking the favor of you to send them to me by the first conveyance after the reciept of this. Any waggon going to Charlottesville may deliver them at Colo. Nichs. Lewis’s, unless my own were to be passing, which might carry them directly to Monticello. I have noted a quarter cask of wine. I would prefer good Lisbon; next to that Sherry, next to that Calcavallo; but still a good quality of the latter would be preferable to an indifferent quality of the former. If none of these, then claret. Whatever kind you can procure me, be so good as to have it bottled before sent.

The papers which I received from Mr. Donald, I inclosed to the Secretary of the Treasury, desiring he would return them to me if the prosecution was to go on. He has not returned them. I shall be able before I leave this, to know what is intended: and will let you know it. I am with great esteem Sir Your most obedt. humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

  • Coffee 20. ℔
  • double refined sugar 2. loaves
  • single do. 2. loaves
  • brown sugar. 30 ℔.
  • rice 50. ℔.
  • raisins 10. ℔.
  • almonds 10. ℔.
  • pepper. black. 1. ℔.
  • cinnamon } 1. oz. of each.
  • capers. 3. bottles
  • mustard. 3. bottles
  • candles. a box, small. spermaceti if to be had.
  • 1. cheese.
  • French brandy 10. gallons. if none, then good rum.
  • common rum 5. gallons.
  • wine. a quarter cask, bottled.
  • cod-fish. 15. or 20. ℔.

If the wine you send me be either Lisbon, Sherry, or Calcavallo, then I would be glad of 3. or 4. doz. in addition, of any sound weak wine, either red or white, which would be good for mixing with water, the kinds specified not being proper for that.

P.S. I send from hence 2½doz. Windsor chairs, which I have desired to be delivered to you, and will beg the favor of you to forward them as quick as you can to Mr. Lewis’s or to Monticello.

RC. (Mr. Ike Hayman, Rutherford, N.J., 1950). PrC (MHi).

Brown acknowledged the above on 16 Aug. 1790, saying that he had “some Sherry Wine of first quality… imported by Mr. Donald 18 months ago direct from Cadiz” and that he would “have a Qr. Cask Bottled Off”; he also repeated his expression of gratitude to TJ for his good offices in the disagreeable affair with Heth (RC in MHi; endorsed as received 24 Aug. 1790 and so recorded in SJL). On 30 Aug. 1790 John Brown wrote for his brother that he was sending the above order by Philemon Richards, including 12 dozen bottles of sherry, 3½dozen bottles of port, “56 ℔. Tallow Candles (no Spermaceti to be got),” 4 loaves “S[ingle] Refin’d Sugar (No Dble. R[efined] to be got),” and other articles as specified except “No Cheese nor fish to be got” (RC in MHi; endorsed by TJ as received [at Monticello] 19 Sep. 1790 and so recorded in SJL).

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