From Sir John Sinclair
Board of Agriculture Whitehall July 15th. 1797
I have the Honor to inclose a Copy of my address to The Board of Agriculture, delivered at the close of our late Session, from which you will perceive the present State of our Pursuits in the great Cause of Agriculture; I hope it will have the good fortune of meeting with your approbation.
I also have the pleasure of herewith sending the remainder of the Original Surveys according to the plan first undertaken which completes that part of our design.
I am persuaded that these Communications, though not so complete as they will yet Be rendered, will not be unacceptable to one, whose Zeal for Improvement is so well known, and universally acknowledged.
Any information upon these important Subjects from America, will be thankfully received by The Board. I have the honor to be, with great regard, Your faithful and obedient Servant
N.B. I hope that you approve of the establishment of a Board of Agriculture in America, and that we shall soon have the pleasure of hearing that it is constituted. A Sample of the virginia forward Wheat would be extremely acceptable.
RC (DLC); at foot of text: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson &ca. &ca. &ca.”; endorsed by TJ as received 9 Jan. 1798 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Sir John Sinclair’s Address to the Board of Agriculture, on Tuesday the Twentieth of June, 1797: Stating the Progress That Had Been Made by the Board, During the Fourth Session Since Its Establishment [London, 1797]. For other enclosures, see note below.
For a description of the original surveys sent by Sinclair, see William Strickland to TJ, 20 May 1796. At Sinclair’s urging, Washington had included in his annual message to Congress of 7 Dec. 1796 a recommendation to establish boards of agriculture in the United States “composed of proper characters, charged with collecting and diffusing information, and enabled by premiums, and small pecuniary aids, to encourage and assist a spirit of discovery and improvement” (Syrett, Hamilton, description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends xx, 364; Fitzpatrick, Writings, description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, Washington, D.C., 1931–44, 39 vols. description ends xxxv, 315–16, 322). In correspondence in July 1797, Washington acknowledged that he had tried “in vain” to establish agricultural boards comparable to the one in Great Britain (Fitzpatrick, Writings, description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, Washington, D.C., 1931–44, 39 vols. description ends xxxv, 501).