Baltimore 21st. febry 1809
In conformity to your request of the 19th. Inst., received late last evening & this morning presented to Mr Brown, of the house of Messrs Falls & Brown, your order for the two tierces of cotton seed; at same time I informed him I was prepared to pay the freight &c—to which he replied, that the last account he had of the vessel, was from Annapolis, waiting for the opening of our river, which is not as yet clear of ice, he also added that he believed the freight was paid on being shipped, & that on their arrival here they shd. be delivered to my order.— I am really sorry that you accidentally fell into the hands you did, not that the transaction, when fairly and fully explained, can have any other effect, than to be truly honourable to yourself, but that it has afforded a faction, such as you very justly describe, an opportunity at the present critical moment, to make a noise in the Newspapers, if possible to your prejudice, but which must in the end recoil on themselves.— I notice the disposition you propose of the seed, but really I cannot just now bring myself into a persuasion to use it in that way, at least immediately, & not until I ask of you, how long will the seed keep good? Also—what time of the year ought it to be put in the ground? I mean in the South of France, where no doubt the seed was intended to be cultivated.— A moment’s reflection woud have convinced Messrs F & B, that owing to the state of our navigation, the uncertainty of a passage by water from hence to Nw. Yk—& the probability of the Mentor’s havg. sailed from thence before the seed coud get there, might, & ought to have prevented them from saying one word on the subject, for in my opinion there is not the least chance of getting it there, were you so disposed, but which I perceive is not now your wish or desire, & however much I may wish it to go in the Ship, your orders shall be so far obeyed, as to keep the Seed in Baltimore, until I have the pleasure of a reply to this letter I think nothing a trouble, when executing any of your commands, therefore spare me not—You will also very much oblige me, by making a tender of my services to the President elect, who may possibly have occasion for a correspondent in this City—
With assurances of my respect & esteem believe me Your constant friend
Perhaps I ought to add, that my republican acquaintances, perfectly accord with you in sentiment, as to the utility of establishments such as you describe &c &c, of course the act of forwarding the seed is in itself not only innocent, but praise worthy; but under the present circumstances, its gross perversion might be attended with so much inconvenience, that its suspension for a time is much desired; consequently your present conduct must be applauded by them—
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.