From William Coolidge
Boston 9 Jany 1811
If an apology is necessary for this address, from an intire stranger, I trust its object will be deemed by you, as satisfactory, and accepted as such.
The Agriculture and Manufactures of our Country have considerably improved, and are rapidly progressing; and while we can make the one, in a measure dependant on the other, it will tend, not only to promote both; but, in a degree, render us independant of other nations on whom we now depend for supplies.
The article of Madder, is of primary importance in Manufactures: no ingredient yet discovered, for Dyeing, can have such almost universal application in the forming of different colors, and shades.
Our climate & soil, are undoubtedly congenial to its cultivation; and considering the price we pay for that of foreign growth; it might be made an important article to our Agriculturalists: Yet I do not find any attempt has been made in N England, towards its cultivation, not even for experiment: But observing in one of our News papers, that a Lady in Virginnia, had made a number of successful experiments in dyeing; and that in some of them she made use of Madder in its undried state; of course conclude that the article is there cultivated.
Not having the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with any Gentleman of observation in that State, have taken the liberty to address to you for information on that subject viz.
|1st||In what part of the State is it cultivated? and when may application be made for the roots in a fit state for setting|
|2d||Presuming that experiments have been made, what is the soil best adapted to its growth?|
|3||What the most suitable season for planting?|
|4||Does it require artificial watering in a dry season?|
|5||How long before it comes to maturity?|
|6||What the most suitable season for gathering? or if any marks, what are they of its maturity?|
|7.||The best mode of drying, whether in a Kiln, as I understand is practiced in Holland, or in the open air. Any information you will afford me on these inquiries, or any of them, will confer an obligation on|
RC (DLC); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello (Virginnia)”; stamped and postmarked; endorsed by TJ as received 20 Jan. 1811 and so recorded in SJL.
William Coolidge (ca. 1778–1841) was a shopkeeper and dry-goods merchant at 6 Cornhill Street in Boston from about 1806. He moved to Baltimore about 1814, gave up business by 1822, when a directory listed him as a “gent.,” and subsequently returned to Boston (George Walter Chamberlain, “The Early New England Coolidges and Some of Their Descendants,” New England Historical and Genealogical Register 77 : 290–1; The Boston Directory [Boston, 1806], 35; The Boston Directory [Boston, 1813], 94; The Baltimore Directory, for 1817–18 [Baltimore, 1817], 39; The Baltimore Directory for 1822 & ’23 [Baltimore, 1822], 62; Boston Courier, 8 Feb. 1841).
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