Thomas Jefferson Papers

Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture to Thomas Jefferson, 13 November 1816

From the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture

11th mo. (Nov.) 13th, 1816.

AT a Special Meeting of “The Philadelphia Society for promoting Agriculture,”

held October (10th mo.) 30th, 1816,

It was resolved, unanimously,

That the Curators, with the assistance of the Secretary and Assistant Secretary, and any other Member or Members of the Society, who will procure and give information, collect facts relating to Agriculture and Horticulture, and of all circumstances connected therewith, which have occurred through the extraordinary season of 1816; and particularly the effects of Frost on vegetation, so far as it shall be in their power to acquire a knowledge of them. In performing this useful service, they will designate the Trees, Grasses and other Plants, and especially those cultivated, on which the Season has had either beneficial or injurious influence, and the local situations in which it has operated more or less perniciously, with the view to ascertain, (among other beneficial results,) the hardy or tender Grains, Grasses, or Plants, most proper for situations exposed to droughts, wet, or frost. In their inquiries, they will endeavour to discover the stages of growth in which cultivated crops have been more or less affected, and the state of products both of Grains, Grasses, and fruit. The addition of any facts, as to insects and vermin usually or occasionally preying on cultivated plants, and whether more or less injury has been done by them in this, than in ordinary seasons, would also be useful. The result of such inquiries to be drawn into the form of a report, to be made by the Curators at our annual Meeting in January next, subjoining such observations as they shall deem proper to furnish, not only with the view to present information, but to record for future instruction, the uncommon occurrences, and the consequences attending them, which have marked this anomalous period.

  Published by order of the Society,
ROBERTS VAUX, Secretary.      

The Curators of the Philadelphia Society for promoting Agriculture, will thankfully receive any information on the subjects of the foregoing Resolution, from any of their Agricultural, or other Fellow-Citizens, who may be pleased to afford it—Any Meteorological Observations made during the present year, will also be acceptable.

Letters sent by Post, or otherwise, addressed to Solomon W. Conrad, No. 87 Market-street, Philadelphia, will be gratefully attended to.

RC (DLC: TJ Papers, 208:37141); printed broadside; dateline at foot of text; at head of text: “AGRICULTURAL”; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esq Monticello Virginia”; stamp canceled; franked; postmarked Philadelphia, 22 Nov.; endorsed by TJ as a “Circular” from Peters received 11 Dec. 1816 from Philadelphia and so recorded in SJL.

The Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture was founded in 1785. Richard Peters, one of its founding members, headed the organization from 1805 until his death in 1828 (Simon Baatz, “Venerate the Plough”: A History of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, 1785–1985 [1985], 4, 16, 51; Minutes of the Philadelphia Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, from its Institution in February, 1785, to March, 1810 [1854], 1, 78).

Roberts Vaux (1786–1836), Quaker philanthropist, established a dry-goods store as a young man in his hometown of Philadelphia. The death of a beloved sister in 1812 and his mother two years later, however, convinced him to give up business and devote himself and much of his considerable inheritance to philanthropic endeavors. Vaux was involved in a host of charitable and educational organizations, including the American Philosophical Society and the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, which he joined in 1812 and served as secretary. In addition, he argued against slavery and in favor of free public education, temperance, penal reform, and the better treatment of the blind, deaf, mute, and mentally ill. A staunch opponent of the Second Bank of the United States, Vaux was also a member of the Philadelphia Common Council, 1814–16, president of the Philadelphia school board, 1818–31, and a judge on the local court of common pleas from 1835 until his death (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Joseph J. McCadden, Education in Pennsylvania, 1801–1835, And Its Debt to Roberts Vaux [1937; repr. 1969]; APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Minutes, 15 Jan. 1819 [MS in PPAmP]; Baatz, “Venerate the Plough, 42; Philadelphia Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 8 Jan. 1836).

Index Entries

  • agriculture; and insects search
  • agriculture; and weather search
  • Conrad, Solomon White; and Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture search
  • insects; effect of on agriculture search
  • meteorological observations; sought by Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture search
  • Peters, Richard; as president of Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture search
  • Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture; founding of search
  • Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture; letter from search
  • Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture; seeks information search
  • plants; and weather search
  • Vaux, Roberts; and Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture search
  • Vaux, Roberts; identified search
  • weather; drought search
  • weather; effect on crops search
  • weather; frost search
  • weather; rain search