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Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Brown, 28 April 1814

To Samuel Brown

Monticello Apr. 28. 14.

Dear Sir

Your favor of Feb. 8. was recieved on the 9th of March. I thank you for the trouble you have taken respecting Henderson, whose testimony would have been valuable to me: but I doubt if he would have given it, having latterly had reason to suspect that himself was the cheat by whom I lose 2000. Dollars. I sincerely sympathise1 with you in the affliction mentioned in your letter. experience of every loss which can rend the human heart has taught me that time and occupation are the only medicines for grief. one of the misfortunes of living too long is the loss of all one’s early friends and affections. when I review the ground over which I have passed since my youth, I see it strewed like a field of battle with the bodies of deceased friends. I stand like a solitary tree in a field, it’s trunk indeed erect, but it’s limbs fallen off, and it’s neighboring plants eradicated from around it. I do not know whether we should rejoice in such inventions as Dr Jenning’s, which promises, or rather threatens, to make us live beyond our time. his vapor bath is rising into notice. like all new things it is to do every thing. I have no doubt however that when sobered down by sound observation, it will be found to do much. I inclose something on that subject, cut out of a newspaper, on the presumption it may not have reached you. We are all, as you describe your neighbors, getting into home spun; and so universally is houshold manufacture established that I am certain it will never again be abandoned. I have three spinning Jennies employed for clothing ourselves; and the consumption of the US. will offer a great market for your cotton independant of piracies by sea & prohibitions on the land. our merchants agree that their future dealings will be confined to groceries & fancy goods. I rejoice with you in the downfall of Bonaparte. this scourge of the world has occasioned the deaths of at least ten millions of human beings, and for what? that he may be called a conqueror, a Robin Hood of the big breed, and end at last in bringing on his own nation the devastation he has spread over others. how fortunate for mankind if the tyrannies of England could have been arrested and retorted in like manner, that both the land and sea robbers could have been suppressed at the same time. but I see no term to her piracies but in that bankruptcy in which mad expences, so much beyond her resources, must end.

I have carefully committed to the earth the seeds you were so kind as to send me the last summer. the Capsicum I am anxious to see up; but it does not yet shew itself. nor do the garavances appear. I do not yet however despair of them. I have just recieved from an European friend, M. Correa de Serra, a request to engage some friend on the Missisipi to send me a young branch or two of the Bow-wood, or bois d’arc of Louisiana, pressed in brown paper with their leaves, and both the male & female flowers. also some of the fruit, either dry, or in a mixture of whiskey & water. the dry no doubt can come most conveniently by mail. also in the proper season some ripe seeds. can I get the favor of you to execute the commission? Mr Correa is now at Philadelphia, setting out on a visit to Kentuckey. he is perhaps the most learned man in the world. not merely in books, but in men & things. and a more amiable & interesting one I have never seen. altho’ a stranger to no science, he is fondest of Botany. should you have gone to Kentucky as your last letter seemed to contemplate, take him to your bosom, and recommend all the attentions to him by which our brethren of Kentucky can honor themselves. you spoke in your letter of a visit to the Atlantic states, & of the possibility even of our seeing you at Monticello. ‘calculo albo diem notarem’ as the Antients did their days of good fortune. here, and every where I wish you all the health and felicities of life.

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViU: TJP); torn at creases, with missing text supplied from PoC; addressed: “Doctr Samuel Brown Natchez”; franked; postmarked Charlottesville, 29 Apr. PoC (DLC); endorsed by TJ.

The enclosed newspaper cutting may have been an article and series of testimonials from the Richmond Enquirer, 19 Mar. 1814, indicating that Samuel K. Jennings had recently relocated to that city and published a pamphlet about his portable bath (see note to Jennings to TJ, 30 Oct. 1813). calculo albo diem notarem: “I would signify the day with a white pebble,” a reference to the practice by which the antients marked their personal calendars with white or black pebbles respectively for good or bad days.

1Word interlined in place of “condole.”

Index Entries

  • bath; portable search
  • beans; chickpea search
  • bird pepper search
  • Brown, Samuel; and daughter’s death search
  • Brown, Samuel; and Henderson case search
  • Brown, Samuel; and Osage orange search
  • Brown, Samuel; and S. K. Jennings’s medical invention search
  • Brown, Samuel; and seeds for TJ search
  • Brown, Samuel; letters to search
  • Brown, Samuel; proposed visit of search
  • Brown, Samuel; proposes to move to Ky. search
  • Brown, Samuel; TJ recommends J. Corrêa da Serra to search
  • chickpea (garavance; garbanzo bean) search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; and Osage orange search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; TJ on search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; TJ recommends to S. Brown search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; U.S. travels of search
  • food; chickpeas search
  • Henderson, James L.; and Henderson estate search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; bereavement search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; death of old friends search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; domestic manufacturing search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Great Britain search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; J. Corrêa da Serra search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Napoleon search
  • Jennings, Samuel Kennedy; portable bath of search
  • machines; portable bath search
  • machines; spinning jenny search
  • manufacturing, household; spinning jennies search
  • manufacturing, household; TJ on search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; compared to Robin Hood search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; TJ on search
  • Osage orange (bow-wood) search
  • pepper; bird search
  • Robin Hood; Napoleon compared to search
  • seeds; bean search
  • seeds; pepper search
  • seeds; sent to TJ search
  • spices; bird pepper search
  • textiles; home manufacture of search
  • textiles; homespun search