Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Philip Tabb, 1 June 1809

To Philip Tabb

Monticello June 1. 09

Dear Sir

Your favor of Apr. 7. has been duly recieved, with the copy of that of January. on reading the first paragraph of it respecting the nuts, I was confident I had recieved it, as I had forwarded the nuts on to a friend in Philadelphia. on searching my letter bundles, I accordingly found that of January recieved on the 27th of that month. yet when Capt Decatur sent me the Mould board, the part of your letter respecting that had as entirely escaped me as if I had never seen it. indeed I had found on other occasions that for1 the immense mass of matter which I was in the way of recieving, the memory was quite an insufficient storehouse. I thank you for the mould board. it’s form promises well, & I have no doubt of it’s good performance. it resembles extremely one which I made about 20. years ago, which has been much approved by the agricultural societies of England and France, the latter of which sent me a gold medal as a premium. the form as I observed is very much that of yours, with the advantage of being made by so easy a rule, that the coarsest negro workman can do it, & cannot possibly make it a hair’s breadth different from the true form. if I can find a conveyance, I will send you a small model, with it’s block which will shew you at once how to make it. a description of it may be found in Mease’s2 edition of Reese’s domestic encyclopedia. in agriculture I am only an amateur, having only that knolege which may be got from books. in the field I am entirely ignorant, & am now too old to learn. still it amuses my hours of exercise, & tempts to the taking due exercise. I salute you with great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); at foot of text: “Philip Tabb esquire”; endorsed by TJ.

TJ designed his first plow moldboard in 1790 and later sent models to the British Board of Agriculture. In 1807 his moldboard was awarded a gold medal by the Société d’agriculture du département de la Seine (Betts, Farm Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, 1953 description ends , 47–64; TJ to Sir John Sinclair, 23 Mar. 1798, PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 30:197–209; TJ to Augustin François Silvestre, 29 May 1807 [DLC]). TJ confused James Mease’s edition of Anthony F. M. Willich’s Domestic encyclopædia with that of Rees’s New Cyclopædia (see notes to James Ronaldson to TJ, 5 Mar. 1809, and Samuel R. Demaree to TJ, 22 Aug. 1809).

1Word interlined in place of “amidst.”

2Manuscript: “Maese’s.”

Index Entries

  • agriculture; British Board of Agriculture search
  • agriculture; Domestic encyclopædia search
  • agriculture; Pennsylvania moldboard search
  • agriculture; TJ on search
  • British Board of Agriculture search
  • Decatur, Stephen; conveys moldboard search
  • Domestic encyclopædia (Willich) search
  • food; hickory nuts search
  • Great Britain; Board of Agriculture search
  • hickory nuts; P. Tabb’s search
  • Mease, James; edits Domestic encyclopædia (Willich) search
  • moldboards; Pennsylvania search
  • nuts; hickory search
  • Pennsylvania; moldboard of search
  • plows.; Pennsylvania moldboard search
  • plows.; TJ’s moldboard search
  • Rees, Abraham; The New Cyclopædia search
  • Société d’agriculture du département de la Seine; and moldboard plows search
  • Tabb, Philip; letters to search
  • Tabb, Philip; sends plow moldboard to TJ search
  • The New Cyclopædia (Rees) search
  • Willich, Anthony F. M.; Domestic encyclopædia (ed. Mease) search