Eleutherian Mills february 23th 1809.
from the different Samples of wool which you have received from my respectable friend and neighbour C. Kirk, you have been able to judge how far the coarse wool of our common coutry Sheep can be progressively Impro’d by repeated crossing with Spanish rams. My father being so Situated as to be enabled to procure the best individuals of that precious breed, will certainly Send me Some over here, provided he may Succeed in having them received on board of one of the vessels chartered by the government to go to france. If you are good enough to grant the request I have taken leave to ma[ke] you respecting orders to be given to the Ship Mentor, I am confident that Some of those valuable animals will be put on board of that vessel.
Independent of the general good which the country at large Shall derive from that importation, it is personnally of the greatest importance for us, on account of the woollen cloth manufactory that we are erecting on the waters of the Brandywine creek, a little below our gunpowder mills. the latter establishment having not so well Succeeded as we contemplated, [as] being upon too large a Scale for the actual consumption of the country we have thought it advisable for us to apply our Industry to an other line, the produces of which will be more generally wanted by our fellow citizens.
if it was possible for your Excellency to be so Kind as to desire Mr. Coles to receive and take charge of those Sheep at Lorient, as if they were destined to yourself, I make no doubt but that circumstance would insure their reception on board of the Ship Mentor, and would contribute no little to induce the captain of her to take all necessary care of them during the voyage. Should you wish to propagate the breed in Virginia, a part of them might really, if you choose, become your property.
Please excuse my present intruding and troubling your Excellency for an object which is effectively of a considerable personal importance for us, but which you certainly consider as no less interesting for the general good of the country.
I have the honour to be with great respect, of your Excellency the most obedient and humble Servant,
E. I. duPont de Nemours.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.