Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to George Jefferson, 4 November 1811

To George Jefferson

Monticello Nov. 4. 11.

Dear Sir

I recieved by yesterday’s post your favor of Oct. 31. and I hasten, by it’s return to say in answer to your enquiry that it is not necessary that you should make any particular tender of services to Colo Monroe, altho you may be assured he knows you too well to ascribe it to any unworthy motive, for I know from himself that he holds you in high respect.

My experience in the affairs of the government enables me to make observations on the office you are to enter on which may be useful to you; age renders us prone to assume the office of advice, and my affection for you, while it urges, will at the same time excuse what I say. the Consuls of France recieve salaries & are not permitted to trade. some of the English consuls are on the same footing. these particular gentlemen think themselves obliged to live splendidly, fully up to their salaries, and affect a diplomatic character, to which they are not at all entitled by the law of nations. all other nations chuse for their consuls persons who are in trade, allow them no salary, and expect them to incur no expence as to their office, but to live merely as merchants do, according to their private circumstances. our government places it’s consuls on this footing, & expects no display from them: nor do I know that our Consuls any where have thought themselves bound to incur any expence, extraordinary, except mr Hackley. he, I am told, lives at an expence of 12,000.D. a year. this is perfect insanity; it marks him at least to be equally vain, weak, & improvident. it is true, it is said, he recieves 4 or 5000.D. a month. but he misapplies them not the less unwisely. all our other consuls live economically as merchants, & according to their circumstances, and so I am sure you will do, on being apprised that no duty to the government requires you to do otherwise. the President, when here in August, observed you were losing a rich harvest. I suppose the peculiar situation of Cadiz & Lisbon throws much into the hand of the Consul, and that this harvest may end if the French get possession. you should hasten therefore to gather as much as you can of it; & to store it up in your barn.

I am told the ploughs, called Peacock ploughs are to be had in Richmond. I think they are sold by Fitzwhylson & co. will you be so good as to send me one of the larger & one of the smaller size. be careful to distinguish them from the Cary or the Pease plough. they have a cast iron mould board and a coulter on their point. these, and some boxes of books expected from Washington, may come either by mr Randolph’s boatmen, or by the William Johnson who carried my flour down, & is quite trustworthy. the same may be trusted with a cask of wine & 3. boxes which will be forwarded to you by the Collector of Alexandria.  mrs Hackley sets out in a few days for Richmond. I have requested her to chuse a piece of cotton shirting for me,1 and to send the bill to you for paiment. affectionately Yours

Th: Jefferson

PoC (CtY: Franklin Collection); at foot of first page: “Mr Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ.

David peacock, of Burlington County, New Jersey, patented his cast-iron plow on 1 Apr. 1807 (List of Patents description begins A List of Patents granted by the United States from April 10, 1790, to December 31, 1836, 1872 description ends , 59; Philadelphia United States’ Gazette, 9 June 1807). The cary plow, characterized by its pyramidal share, was also known as the Dagen or Connecticut plow (Lucia Stanton, “‘A Little Matter’: Jefferson’s Moldboard of Least Resistance,” Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association 58 [2005]: 3–11, 36). Horace pease, of Hartford County, Connecticut, patented his cast-iron plow on 7 Aug. 1813 but sold it locally two years earlier (List of Patents description begins A List of Patents granted by the United States from April 10, 1790, to December 31, 1836, 1872 description ends , 128; Greenfield, Mass., Traveller, 9 July 1811).

1Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • boats; transfer goods to and from Richmond search
  • Cádiz; U.S. consul at search
  • cotton; as textile search
  • cotton; for clothing search
  • Fitzwhylsonn & Potter (Richmond firm); and plows search
  • flour; transported to Richmond search
  • Hackley, Harriet Randolph (Richard S. Hackley’s wife); makes purchases for TJ search
  • Hackley, Richard Shippey; consul at Cádiz search
  • Jefferson, George (TJ’s cousin); and consulship at Lisbon search
  • Jefferson, George (TJ’s cousin); and J. Monroe search
  • Jefferson, George (TJ’s cousin); letters to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Family & Friends; advises G. Jefferson search
  • Johnson, William (waterman); carries flour to Richmond search
  • Lisbon; U.S. consulship at search
  • Madison, James; visits Monticello search
  • Monroe, James; and Lisbon consulship search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Madison, Dolley and James search
  • patents; of D. Peacock search
  • patents; of H. Pease search
  • Peacock, David; plows of search
  • Pease, Horace; plows of search
  • plows.; Cary (Dagen; Connecticut) search
  • plows.; Peacock search
  • plows.; Pease search
  • Portugal; U.S. consulship in search
  • President’s House; TJ’s belongings at search
  • Randolph, Thomas Eston (TJ’s cousin); boats of, transfer goods search
  • Richmond, Va.; boats transfer goods to and from search
  • Richmond, Va.; flour shipped to search
  • Simms, Charles; collector at Alexandria search
  • textiles; cotton search
  • wine; sent to TJ search