Thomas Jefferson Papers

John F. Oliveira Fernandes to Thomas Jefferson, 6 January 1816

From John F. Oliveira Fernandes

Norfolk 6th January 1816


Your letter of the 16th ulto came to hand on the 23r do I am sorry to state to you, that here is not to be found in this place, a Single Quarter Cask of Lisbon wine Tenerife and Sherry, are of a very indiefferent Kind.

Rob. E. Steed, who keeps a tolerable Grocery, has Some Port wine; but I could not, in sincerity, recomend & Still Less, purchase it for you.

In this Situation, having attention to your present defficiency of wine, & to my wishes to oblige you, in every respect, I resolved to Send up to you, the only quart Cask of Port wine in my power, of the Superior quality (Factory-wine)—which I received Lately for my own use—by the Brig—General Silveira—Bound to Baltimore: for which you will pay—@ $2.75. gallon R. E Steed’s price, for his common Port wine (whole Sale)1—for which I paid at Oporto at the rate of 250. milreis—to $312.50—pr pipe—

I beg Leave to inform you that in consequence of the holly2—(or rather Lazy) days—and the time necessary for my inquiries, It was only in my power to Ship the Q. Cask yesterday, to Messrs Gibson & Jefferson of Richmond to whom, I enclosed Bills of Lading, and custom House Entry—on the Same Gentlemen I will draw, for the ammt—as pr acct below—$83.08.

I am extremelly sensible and gratefull, to your Kind offer, to pay to you a visit in the Spring, and to meet, at Monticello, my Country Man Joseph Correa da Serra; I will chearfully accept of the offer; if, ever3 in my power, to leave town, at that time: A physician (even in a free Country) is always a political Slave—however, such is the honour, & the pleasure, I promise myself, in So interesting & Learned society, as yours and of Mr L’Abbè Corrêa—that I will endeavour, to take that Trip—Should the circumstances permit me to do so— It was really a Surprise to me, to Know that L’Abbè Corréa, was in this Country; being informed by Litterary Correspondences, that he was engaged in one of the recent, French, Litterary-periodical Publications viz—

  Nouveau Buletin des Sciences; par La Societé Philomatique; redigé par—BrongniardDescostelsCuvier—Corrêa & & &—4

which began to be published 1st oct. 1807—monthly

Nor do I know, why, being Secretary of the Royal Accademy of the Sciences—of Lisbon—he Left the Place; in the epoch of the French Invasion into Portugal—

Wise men do not always adopt the best political Measures—amidst the hasardous, political revolutions, & Calamaties—in general—all is well, that ends well

Please to accept of, the assurances of the great respect; and Sincere regard with which I beg Leave to Subscribe My Self

Sir your obt Servant

John F. Oliveira Fernandes5

a quart cask Port wine containing
29½ gall. Port wine @ $2.75. $81.13
 Case & Casing—pr Bill 1.50
 Drayage & warfage 45

J F. O. Fernandes

RC (DLC); addressed: “Thomaz Jefferson Esquire Monticello Milton Virginia”; franked; postmarked Norfolk, 6 Jan.; endorsed by TJ as received 13 Jan. 1816 and so recorded in SJL.

Portuguese wine was classed as either factory-wine or wine for home consumption, the former being generally of finer quality and reserved for export (Tradesman; or Commercial Magazine 13 [1814]: 121–2). The brig General Silveira had departed Baltimore for Porto on 18 Nov. 1815 (Baltimore Price Current, 25 Nov. 1815). José Corrêa da Serra became a member of the Société Philomathique in 1806. In October 1807, along with Alexandre Brongniart (brongniard), Hippolyte Victor Collet Descotils (descotels) and others, he restarted the society’s dormant publication as Nouveau Bulletin des Sciences, par la Société Philomatique de Paris, with the stated goal of publishing new discoveries in science submitted by correspondents from all countries. By the printing of the first issue of the second volume in 1810, Frédéric cuvier had been added as an editor.

1Omitted closing parenthesis editorially supplied.

2Thus in manuscript, presumably alluding to “holidays.”

3Manuscript: “ev.”

4Omitted closing quotation mark editorially supplied.

5Beneath the signature Oliveira Fernandes wrote “P.T.O.” (“Please turn over”), with account on next page.

Index Entries

  • Brongniart, Alexandre; andNouveau Bulletin des Sciences search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; andNouveau Bulletin des Sciences search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; and Royal Academy of Sciences of Lisbon search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; and Société Philomathique de Paris search
  • Cuvier, Frédéric; andNouveau Bulletin des Sciences search
  • Descotils, Hippolyte Victor Collet; andNouveau Bulletin des Sciences search
  • General Silveira (brig) search
  • Gibson & Jefferson (Richmond firm); and wine acquired by TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; orders wine from J. F. Oliveira Fernandes search
  • Nouveau Bulletin des Sciences search
  • Oliveira Fernandes, John Francisco; and wine for TJ search
  • Oliveira Fernandes, John Francisco; as physician search
  • Oliveira Fernandes, John Francisco; letters from search
  • Oliveira Fernandes, John Francisco; TJ invites to visit Monticello search
  • port (wine) search
  • Portugal; TJ orders wine from search
  • Royal Academy of Sciences of Lisbon; members of search
  • sherry (wine) search
  • Société Philomathique de Paris; members of search
  • Steed, Robert E.; grocer search
  • Tenerife (wine) search
  • wine; of Tenerife search
  • wine; port search
  • wine; Portuguese search
  • wine; sherry search
  • wine; TJ orders from J. F. Oliveira Fernandes search