Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Isaac A. Coles to Thomas Jefferson, 12 November 1809

From Isaac A. Coles

Washington, Nov. 12th 1809

Dr Sir,

Mr Madison has just given me a Box for you, containing some Books I believe, which shall be sent by the friday’s Stage, addressed to the care of Mr Benson the Post Master at Fredericksburg—

he has also given me for you Mr Livingston’s treatise on Sheep which shall be forwarded by the next Mail. I have read it with some interest, and regret more than ever that I was not permitted to bring from France some of Mr Parker’s fine flock.

Mr Boudwie the Partner of Mr Dupont de Nemours of Wilmington has lately been here, and pronounces the Green Mountain Sheep to be very far superior to those of Mr Custis—he was surprised at the fineness of the wool, and declared they were worth ten Dollars a head—I mention this as I know they are very inferior to Mr Randolph’s, who is probably not apprized of the high value he ought to set on his flock.—He agrees to bind himself to take from me, and to give me one dollar pr pound, for all the wool I will send him from my Sheep, provided I will give them a single cross with a th’s Marino Ram; and if I will still continue to improve the flock, he will gradually increase the price to two Dollars. he will make this contract for any number of years, & for any quantity of wool, considering it always as a Cash Article—.

There are several articles of your property, I believe, still remaining here, and which were probably overlooked or forgotten when you left this, there is a large skin of the grisly Bear, and three or four Pictures which I have seen, & which shall be forwarded to Monticello unless you should desire to dispose of them in some other way—.

Inclosed you will find the last National Intelligencer which I send as it contains an Article of an interesting character—it will best explain itself. I beg to be presented to Mrs Randolph1 & to add the assurances of my warm and respectful Attachment.

I. A. Coles

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 22 Nov. 1809 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Washington National Intelligencer, 10 Nov. 1809.

The books were part of an edition of the works of Anne Robert Jacques Turgot (James Madison to TJ, 6 Oct. 1809), and the treatise was Robert R. Livingston, Essay on Sheep (New York, 1809; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 796). boudwie: Peter Bauduy. George Washington Parke custis, George Washington’s stepgrandson and adopted son, resisted the merino craze, citing the patriotic duty to cultivate native sheep and the prohibitive cost of merino sheep to the average American farmer (Sara B. Bearss, “The Farmer of Arlington: George W. P. Custis and the Arlington Sheep Shearings,” Virginia Cavalcade 38 [1989]: 124–33). Meriwether Lewis had sent TJ a grizzly bear skin from Fort Mandan (Lewis to TJ, 7 Apr. 1805 [DLC]).

1Manuscript: “Randolp.”

Index Entries

  • Bauduy, Peter search
  • bear, grizzly; skin sent to TJ search
  • Benson, John; Fredericksburg postmaster search
  • Coles, Isaac A.; letters from search
  • Custis, George Washington Parke; and sheep raising search
  • du Pont de Nemours, Eleuthère Irénée; mentioned search
  • Essay on Sheep (Livingston) search
  • Fredericksburg, Va.; J. Benson (postmaster) search
  • Livingston, Robert R.; Essay on Sheep search
  • Madison, James; sends books to TJ search
  • merino sheep; and G. W. P. Custis search
  • merino sheep; and P. Bauduy search
  • Oeuvres (A. R. J. Turgot) search
  • Parker, Daniel (of Paris); and merino sheep search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); greetings to search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); and merino sheep search
  • sheep; Essay on Sheep (Livingston) search
  • sheep; Green mountain search
  • Turgot, Anne Robert Jacques; Oeuvres search