Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Timothy Matlack, 25 February 1807

Lancaster Feby. 25. 1807.


An opportunity of sending to you, by way of Baltimore, now for the first time this spring, presenting itself, I have forwarded to Mr Burrell D Postmaster there, a small bundle containing the Vine Cuttings which I had the honor of mentioning to you in the fall, the Oldmixon Peach tree and several other kinds of fruit in high esteem here, which I hope will Prove acceptable to you

My ground being entirely full of trees I have for a year or two Past not kept up my nursery, and consequently had not a choice of young trees as to size, but have sent the best I have. To supply such as may fail to grow, I have sent some cuttings both of the pears and of the stone fruit. If your Gardiner has not been in the practice of grafting the stone fruits, he may be discouraged from attempting it, from the circumstance of their bark ragging, in the splitting of the stock; but this is effectually prevented by grafting within the ground, and by cutting thro’ the bark in the direction of the intended split. When this is done and the stock clayed over, & the clay covered with a bank of loam to prevent its cracking, they will generally grow and make handsome trees. The cuttings of the Richmond Pear are worth Particular attention.

There is one Circumstance of much importance in planting fruit trees, and especially of the Stone fruits, which experience has taught me, and which I beg leave to mention. The ought to be planted not so deep as they grew, and on rising ground, and the earth should be raised four or six inches in a bank round the stem; and they must be staked so as to keep them perfectly steady.

As to Politic’s it will be remembered, that the division among the Democratic republicans of this state, into Feds and Quids, arose from Duane’s support of Dr Leib, and that a Perserverance of the measure has continued to widen the breach to this time, when a crisis is approaching that must decide the controversy.   The Doctor supposing himself at the head of the Demo’s throughout the State, and entitled to the station, resigned his seat in Congress and took one in the state Legislature, evidently in full expectation that he would be sent to the Senate of the United States; in which he has been greatly disappointed, and not less mortified. In his pursuit of that object he has not only publickly weighed himself in the state ballance; but has also produced a division between himself and the friends of Mr. Snyder, one consequence of which himself has expressed at a public table here: Addressing himself to Mr Pulaskie he said “If you wish my support to your bill (in favour of a canal) you must allow me to oppose it, which is the only means by which I can possibly serve you”. Since which his Phillipic’s against Tryal by Jury seems to have topped his character.   The friends of Mr. Snyder looking forward to the next election for Governor, and doubtful of the part which Duane may take on that question, have prevailed on Mr. Binns of Northumberland to remove his press to the City, immediately, in order to establish himself there in time to give his support to Mr Snyder, in case Dr. Lieb should influence Duane to take part against him, which it is Presumed he will attempt. Circumstanced as Duane is with a great number of heavy suits against him for libels in which it is conjectured that the Doctor has had a hand, Duane must feel no small embarrassment in his choice between throwing off Lieb or deserting Snyder; and it seems that one of them he must do.   The extreme illness of the Governor (an inflamatory Rheumatism, or gout, which threatened a mortification of which he is now recovering) drew the public attention to the consideration of a successor in that office, and with it among reflecting men, the consideration of the state of Parties: more especially as to the coalition of the Feds & Quids.

It had long been expected that either General Muhlenberg or Mr Heister would have been nominated by the Germans in opposition to Mr. Snyder, and have divided that interest; but it now appears, that both those Gentlemen have declined in favour of Mr. Spayd, connected with both those families. He is said to be a young Gentleman of fair character, bred to the law yet having had few opportunities of acquiring political knowledge, and not generally known, which brings the prudence of the measure into question, independently of the consequences of dividing the republican interest in the present situation of things; when it is understood that the Feds’ mean to nominate a Candidate in the expectation of deriving support from the Quids. James Ross and William Tilghman have been spoken of as candidates under consideration.  Against the first, prejudices already raised, seem to forbid the expectation of any aid from the Quids: The urbanity of the manners of Mr. Tilghman may obtain him a few votes from that quarter; but the general conviction of the impossibility of the Quids and Feds ever forming a lasting connexion puts it beyond question, that no considerable number will join in his support.   So early as July last this opinion forced itself upon the Quids here, and the proceedings in the legislature has confirmed it.  A committee of arrangment for the 4th of July, formed of the two Parties met, with the affectation of condescension, perhaps on both sides, to form the toasts for the day &c, when even appearances could not be saved. The coldness of some of the toasts which the Quids wished to be affectionately warm, and the pepper of others which did not suit the republican palate, produced effects which could not, even for the moment, be concealed; and on the day when every heart ought to have expanded with benevolence, there were difficulties in preserving decorum that were not expected. This to reflecting minds, shewed the true state of things and prepared them for future events. In the fore part of the present session of the legislature enough was sacraficed to the desire of union, and the hope was cherished until the election for State Treasurer came on when facts proved, beyond question, that a union of strength could alone prevent the adverse candidate from being elected. In this situation of things the Feds persisted in supporting Mr M Barton, who has always been considered, as one of the warmest leaders of “the Spartan band”, whom they knew that no consideration whatever could induce a single Quid to vote for. This was decisive, and left no ground to hope for any future good effect from a coalition, and shewed unequivocally the irreconcileable principles of the two parties, & the firm determination on both sides to adhere to them.

The electing of the Chief Magistrate of a republican government has been considered as the bane of it; but in the present case it is hoped that it may, and most Probably will, prove a powerful restorative, whether either of the candidates shall yield to the necessity of the times or not. That the Quids hold in their hands a weight sufficient to turn the scale against the Feds, there can be no doubt, and in my mind, the evidence is full & clear that no consideration can be offered that will, induce them to withhold it. When the proper time shall arrive the Quid’s and Demo’s must feel the necessity of a conferrence, and of a union of measures; in which I am aware there will difficulties arise of which some are of too delicate a nature to be touched at this time; but which must be overcome.

The widest spread mischief that ever disturbed the pPeace of Pennsylvania, was effected by private confidential letters, addressed to the warmest and weakest men in every part of the state, in which the most wicked surmises and the boldest falshoods calculated to excite jealousies and alarms were confidently stated as facts, and produced their full effects before the cause was known, or suspected. This evil has cured itself so far as the cure is possible, and has silently but completely destroyed its author, whose talents were precisely fitted to such a purpose, and whose whole time for years was dedicated to it. Had he not been detected the breach among the Democratic republicans could never have been healed; but the venom being now withdrawn, be assured, the wound will heal of itself.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect Your Excellency’s Most obedient Servant

T Matlack

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.


List of Fruit trees
No. 1. Carolina Canada— When fully ripe, the most juicy and highest flavourd of all the clingstone peaches—For preserving it is the best of all the Peaches, and being cut round length wise, and gently twisted, one half the Peach comes from the stone as perfectly as from the freestone—the other half is taken out with the point of a knife: It retains more of the peach flavour in brandy than any other.
II. The much boasted Oldmixon peach, which I fear will disappoint you in its size.
III. The Mammoth Peach— large perfectly beautiful & ripens tender—a clingstone
IIII. The Oldmixon freestone— a fine Peach—I suppose the same as the Madeira Peach
V. The Lady’s favourite— a small yellow Peach of exquisite flavour—a late importation from France—ripens full of juice.
VI. The Italian red— freestone—imported by Robert Morris
VIII. The Italian white— freestone—imported by R M—
VII. The Moore Park Apricot— I presume the same as the Anson.
The Purple Syrian Grape from Twitham. (Cuttings from each) & also of the Purple Prune and of Coopers plum, a seedling from the Green Gage grafted on the wild plum—
Both these are seedlings Produced near Philada. & superior to any imported. } X. Sickell’s Pear— a small pear, to be gathered about the 10th of October—They are red upon the tree, & ripen in about 2 weeks to a beautiful lemon colour—They are juicy and tender as the best of the Bursu Pears, and much sweeter—
XI. The Richmond Pear— The ugliest, hardest skinned, and richest flavoured of all the pear kind—It ripens a few days later than Sickell’s Pear, and is equally buttery.

A small Parcell of Coopers Pale green Asparagus Seed, which has long commanded the Philadelphia market—The head is large in proportion to its stem & very tender. the whole of this Seed is gathered from one beautiful Stalk in my garden

The long crooked & warted Squash—A native of New Jersey, which the Cooper’s family have preserved unadulterated for near a Century. It is our best Squash.

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