Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Cutbush, 24 November 1814

To James Cutbush

Monticello Nov. 24. 14.


A long absence from home occasions this late acknolegement of your favor of Oct. 23. the mention of a certificate from me in favor of mr Hall’s method of making corn hills or tobo hills excites my curiosity. I remember his calling on me at Washington, with recommendations of his method from some gentlemen of character in Maryland, & particularly of mr Carrol of Carrolton in whose service he had been. I think too he explained to me his process, not to be by raising the hills, but by depressing1 the intervals by a roller. but I never saw his machine, nor it’s work. I do not recollect giving him any certificate, yet this is no proof I did not, for my memory is not to be trusted. I ask myself on what could I give a certificate? of the performance of the machine? I never saw it. of my opinion of it? I am so poor a judge in questions of agriculture that I could scarcely offer that. I have been always scrupulous in my certificates, stating their matter all in my own handwriting, & not subscribing to what others had written. if you can furnish me the purport of the one I am supposed to have given mr Hall, I shall be gratified.

I am sorry for mr Sloane’s misfortunes. he got out of temper with his old friends because they would not let him move the capitol to Philadelphia, and joined himself to those to whom he had always been opposed. this I presume produced the loss of his seat in Congress. since that I had never heard any thing of him till the reciept of your letter. altho I disapproved of his change of sides I always wished him personally well. be pleased to accept the assurance of my great esteem and respect

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Dr Cutbush”; endorsed by TJ.

James Hall visited TJ at washington in March 1807 (Hall to TJ, 23 Mar., 11 Dec. 1807 [DLC]).

Early in February 1808 New Jersey congressman James Sloan proposed moving the United States capitol from Washington to Philadelphia. The latter, he contended, was more conducive to good health, more centrally located with respect to population, and easier to defend against its enemies. In addition, unlike the current capital, Philadelphia was “surrounded with a rich country, thick settled with industrious free citizens,” and it did not require the construction of costly public residences, offices, and other facilities, the building of which encouraged fraud and made the executive branch of government too powerful (Sloan, Reasons Offered to the Consideration of the Citizens of the United States, In Favor of the Removal of the Seat of Government, from Washington City, to Philadelphia [n.p., 1808]). Sloan, who changed sides in 1808 by supporting George Clinton rather than James Madison for president, did not stand for reelection that year (New Haven Connecticut Herald, 3 May 1808; Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, 1989 description ends ).

1Reworked from “compressing.”

Index Entries

  • agriculture; improved method of planting search
  • Carroll, Charles (of Carrollton); and J. Hall’s agricultural improvements search
  • Clinton, George; supporters of search
  • corn; planting techniques for search
  • Cutbush, James; and J. Hall’s agricultural improvements search
  • Cutbush, James; and J. Sloan’s financial reverses search
  • Cutbush, James; letters to search
  • Hall, James; improved planting technique of search
  • Hall, James; visits TJ at Washington search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; testimonials search
  • machines; roller search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and1808election search
  • Philadelphia; proposed relocation of U.S. capital to search
  • Sloan, James; financial reverses of search
  • Sloan, James; political views of search
  • Sloan, James; supports relocation of U.S. capital search
  • tobacco; planting techniques search
  • Washington, D.C.; proposed removal of U.S. capital from search