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Thomas Jefferson to Alexis Marie Rochon, 14 December 1813

To Alexis Marie Rochon

Monticello. Dec. 14. 1813.

I have had the pleasure, my dear Sir, of recieving your letter of Aug. 7. 1812. and with it a copy of your voyages for the observations of the longitudes at sea, which I have read with great satisfaction, and pray you to accept my thanks for them. I recieved at the same time your pamphlet on the Micrometer of rock-chrystal, the advantages of which you had shewn to me in 1785 at Dr Franklin’s at Passy, on the telescope you gave him, which is now in my possession. the uses of this discovery at sea, as well as with land-armaments, are so many and great, that it is wonderful to me, that in a course of 30. years, it is not yet brought into general use. it is one of the remarkable proofs of the slowth with which improvements in the arts & sciences advance.

I am happy to learn that you are in the superintendance of the interests of manufactures. I shall rejoice to see them flourish every where, & every nation enabled to furnish itself with what it has hitherto taken from England, and withdrawing from her their quota of the aliment of her thousand armed ships, and of her piracies on the ocean, of which they are the instruments. we shall certainly hereafter call on her for very little. never has there been an instance of such rapidity in the establishments of manufactures; the capital of our former commerce being of necessity diverted to that object. we have already, or shall certainly have in the course of another year, a million of spindles engaged in spinning; which are sufficient for clothing our eight millions of people. but they will still continue to multiply. we are getting the spinning machines into all our farm houses, for the cloathing of our families. I work myself upwards of an hundred spindles merely for our own domestic use. we raise wool enough for all our purposes; so much the less being necessary with our abundance of cotton. the race of Merinos is very much multiplied and spread over all our states from hence Northwardly. I give you these details because I know your partiality for the useful arts, and that you will see their importance in all their bearings, political and economical. I am glad to learn that you are shewing us the way to supply ourselves with some of the most necessary tropical productions, and that the bette-rave, which we can all raise, promises to supplant the cane particularly, and to silence the demand for the inhuman species of labour employed in it’s culture & manipulation. could you favor me with the details of the best process for the manufacture of sugar from the beet? I have the book of M. Parmentier; but that does not give us recipes of the process. very much gratified by this occasion of recalling myself to your recollection, I tender you the assurance of my great esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (ViW: TC-JP); at foot of first page: “M. l’Abbé Rochon”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosed in TJ to David Bailie Warden, 29 Dec. 1813, and TJ to John Graham, 6 Jan. 1814.

slowth is a variant of “sloth,” in this context meaning “sluggishness” (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ). bette-rave: “beet.” Antoine Auguste parmentier was the author of Aperçu des Résultats obtenus de la fabrication des Sirops et des Conserves de Raisins; dans le cours des années 1810 et 1811, pour servir de suite au Traité publié sur cette matière; avec une Notice historique et chronologique du Corps sucrant (Paris, 1812; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 1200).

Index Entries

  • Aperçu des Résultats obtenus de la fabrication des Sirops et des Conserves de Raisins (A. A. Parmentier) search
  • beets search
  • cotton; manufactures from search
  • food; beets search
  • Franklin, Benjamin; and lunette search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; receives books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; domestic manufacturing search
  • manufacturing, household; expansion of search
  • manufacturing, household; TJ on search
  • Mémoire sur le micromètre de cristal de Roche (A. M. Rochon) search
  • merino sheep; wool of search
  • Parmentier, Antoine Auguste; Aperçu des Résultats obtenus de la fabrication des Sirops et des Conserves de Raisins search
  • Rochon, Alexis Marie; and micrometer search
  • Rochon, Alexis Marie; letters to search
  • Rochon, Alexis Marie; Mémoire sur le micromètre de cristal de Roche search
  • Rochon, Alexis Marie; Voyages aux Indes Orientales et en Afrique, pour l’Observation des Longitudes en Mer search
  • scientific instruments; lunettes search
  • spinning machines; TJ on search
  • sugar; from beets search
  • Voyages aux Indes Orientales et en Afrique, pour l’Observation des Longitudes en Mer (A. M. Rochon) search
  • wool; merino search