Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to William D. Meriwether, 17 September 1813

To William D. Meriwether

Monticello Sep. 17. 13.

Sir

I lent you some time ago the London & Country brewer and Combrun’s book on the same subject. we are this day beginning, under the directions of Capt Millar, the business of brewing Malt liquors, and if these books are no longer useful to you I will thank you for them, as we may perhaps be able to derive some information from them. Accept the assurance of my respect & consideration.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of text: “Capt Meriwether”; endorsed by TJ.

capt millar: Joseph Miller. Although Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson had brewed beer at Monticello during the early years of their marriage, TJ did not continue the practice after his wife’s death in 1782. During the last dozen years of TJ’s life, however, the Monticello brewery, under the direction of Peter Hemmings, produced as much as two hundred gallons of ale per annum for home consumption (Ann Lucas, The Philosophy of Making Beer [1995; keepsake for Spring Dinner at Monticello, 12 Apr. 1995]; TJ to James Barbour, 11 May 1821). The books TJ was seeking were William Ellis, The London and Country Brewer, 6th ed. (London, 1750; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 1204) and Michael Combrune, The Theory and Practice of Brewing, rev. ed. (London, 1804; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 1206).

On this day TJ received a letter dated Philadelphia, 10 Sept. 1813, from Jonathan Williams, the president of the United States Military Philosophical Society, announcing that the society would hold its next annual meeting in New York City on 1 Nov. 1813, at which time it was to receive reports, examine its finances, elect new members and officers for the coming year, and “devise the best means of promoting the future usefulness of the Institution” (printed circular in DLC; endorsed by TJ as a “Circu[lar]” [edge trimmed] from Williams received 17 Sept. 1813 and so recorded in SJL).

Index Entries

  • beer; brewed at Monticello search
  • books; on brewing search
  • brewing; at Monticello search
  • brewing; books on search
  • Combrune, Michael; The Theory and Practice of Brewing search
  • Ellis, William; The London and Country Brewer search
  • Hemmings, Peter (TJ’s slave; b.1770); and Monticello brewery search
  • Jefferson, Martha Wayles Skelton (TJ’s wife); brews beer search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; loans books search
  • Meriwether, William Douglas; borrows books from TJ search
  • Meriwether, William Douglas; letters to search
  • Miller, Joseph; as brewer search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); brewery at search
  • The London and Country Brewer (Ellis) search
  • The Theory and Practice of Brewing (Combrune) search
  • United States Military Philosophical Society search
  • Williams, Jonathan; and United States Military Philosophical Society search
  • Williams, Jonathan; letters from accounted for search