Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Bradbury, 21 March 1812

To John Bradbury

Monticello Mar. 21. 12


I duly recieved your letter of the 5th inst. and congratulate you on your safe return from your long peregrination. I hope it will not be long before we shall have the benefit of the information it has furnished you.

With respect to the establishment of a Botanical garden at Washington by the General government, be assured it is an idea without the least foundation. no doubt it is desired by every friend of science; and it may be expected by such of them as have not sufficiently contemplated either the powers or the present circumstances of the government. there have been repeatedly applications by individuals, & one of them lately, for the use of some of the public grounds at Washington for the establishment of such a garden, and if the suspicion that it would be converted into a mere kitchen-garden for the supply of the town-market can be removed, it is in the power of the President, and would probably be within his disposition so to dispose of it. but I do not believe the government will or can do more. the setting you right in this fact being the best service I can render you in the case, I do it as a duty & add with pleasure the assurance of my esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr John Bradbury”; endorsed by TJ.

Early in TJ’s retirement William Thornton lamented that nothing had been done to establish a botanical garden at washington. More recently Charles Whitlow had sought congressional permission to use some of the public grounds for that purpose. Neither he nor Bradbury succeeded (Thornton to TJ, 30 Aug. 1809; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States description ends , 8:134 [20 Jan. 1812]).

Index Entries

  • botany; and proposed Washington botanical garden search
  • botany; J. Bradbury’s expedition search
  • Bradbury, John; and Washington botanical garden search
  • Bradbury, John; botanical expedition of search
  • Bradbury, John; letters to search
  • gardens; proposed Washington botanical garden search
  • Washington (D.C.); proposed botanical garden in search
  • Whitlow, Charles; and proposed Washington botanical garden search