Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Sir John Sinclair, 3 June 1802

From Sir John Sinclair

London 29 Parliament Street 3 June 1802


I expected to have had the Honour of hearing from you before this time, on the Subject of the publication of General Washington’s Letters, but I hope to have that pleasure soon. In the interim I beg to send an Engraving of the proposed Monument and a plan of the new town of Thurso, in which it is proposed to be erected.

You will also herewith recieve two copies of a paper on Longevity which may be reprinted in America, if you should approve of that Idea. I hope to recieve by your obliging assistance very satisfactory answers from America to the Questions in Appendix No. 1.

It would give me much pleasure to hear that a Board of Agriculture was established in America, and I still rely that under your auspices it will be happily effected.

I have the Honour to be with great truth & regard Your faithful and obedient Servant

John Sinclair

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 26 Sep. and so recorded in SJL. For enclosures, see below.

For the facsimile edition of WASHINGTON’S LETTERS to Sinclair, published in London in 1800, see Sinclair to TJ, 6 June 1800 and 22 June 1801. In June 1802, Cottom & Stewart, book dealers in Alexandria, proposed to publish the letters from the London edition on a “superfine wove Paper” as soon as they obtained 500 subscribers. The Alexandria publication, which appeared in June 1803, was entitled Letters from His Excellency George Washington, to Arthur Young, Esq. F.R.S. and Sir John Sinclair, Bart. M.P. Containing an Account of His Husbandry, with His Opinions on Various Questions in Agriculture; and Many Particulars of the Rural Economy of the United States (see Shaw–Shoemaker, No. 5536). The editors explained that instead of publishing only the letters to Sinclair on fine paper as at first proposed, they had decided to print Washington’s correspondence with Arthur Young, as well. By preferring “utility to elegance, and by deviating from their former proposal,” they were able to “furnish, without any additional expence, the General’s correspondence with both these gentlemen” (advertisement in Letters from His Excellency George Washington, 4; Bartgis’s Republican Gazette, 6 Aug. 1802; Alexandria Expositor, and the Columbian Advertiser, 1 June 1803).

The ENGRAVING OF THE PROPOSED MONUMENT in memory of Washington has not been found, but a London newspaper reported that the monument was about to be erected in one of the squares of Thurso (Washington Federalist, 4 Feb. 1802). For the plan of the town, see Vol. 31:91 and Vol. 34:414.

Sinclair’s PAPER, An Essay on Longevity, was published in London in 1802 (see Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 985). Twenty questions appeared in the first appendix, including inquiries on how heredity, exercise, diet, gender, marital status, profession or “situation of life,” physique, “disposition or temper,” town or country living, climate, sleeping habits, and other customs impacted longevity. Sinclair also questioned: “What are the rules regarding medicine which are accounted the most useful and salutary?” and “What are the rules adopted by those who have attained great age?” (Sinclair, Essay on Longevity, 16–17).

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