Thomas Jefferson Papers
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William Thornton to Thomas Jefferson, 18 June 1812

From William Thornton

City of Washington 18th June 1812—

Dear sir

I had the honor of your Letter of the 24th Ulto inclosing fifty Dollars, which I delayed answering from day to day till I am astonished at the lapse of time. I waited in daily expectation of the arrival of your Servant, and had the machine prepared accordingly. I have heard nothing of him yet, and cannot remain any longer silent, lest some accident may have happened.—

I am still unwell, but much obliged by your kind expressions of solicitude for my recovery.—

I am sorry you have not been more fortunate in raising merinos—I informed Judge Cranch, that, if the Ram be put to the Ewes in the increase of the moon, the Lambs would be more generally males, if in the decrease females—He tried this with our joint flock of common Ewes, amounting to about 400; for he marked every individual, and permitted them only to go to the Ram at stated times, by which he found my statement right in the proportion of 4 to 5—When put in the increase there were 4 Ewe & 5 Ram-lambs, when in the decrease 5 Ewe, & only 4 ram lambs: & this appears to be more the Case in other Animals: for I think I have observed that mares produce Colts almost to a certainty when put in the increase, & fillies when put in the decrease of the moon.—This if true generally, would tend to prove that all Animals are lunatics in love.—

Yesterday we declared War, and must now manufacture our own Cloths &c—They can be well made some hundreds Cent cheaper than imported.—

I am, dear Sir, with the highest respect and consideration Yrs sincerely

William Thornton—

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Honorble Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 24 June 1812 and so recorded in SJL.

In response to President James Madison’s message to Congress of 1 June 1812 on relations with Great Britain, the United States House of Representatives and Senate each referred the matter to committee and ultimately declared war on 18 June 1812, with a key 19–13 vote in the Senate on 17 June followed by House concurrence and Madison’s approval the next day (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 31 vols.  Congress. Ser., 17 vols.  Pres. Ser., 6 vols.  Sec. of State Ser., 8 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 4:432–8; Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. (all editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. Citations given below are to the edition mounted on the American Memory website of the Library of Congress and give the date of the debate as well as page numbers) description ends , 12th Cong., 1st sess., 265–98 [1–18 June 1812]; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, 1845–67, 8 vols. description ends , 2:755).

Index Entries

  • Cranch, William; buys merino sheep search
  • House of Representatives, U.S.; and declaration of war search
  • Madison, James; and declaration of war search
  • merino sheep; and W. Cranch search
  • Senate, U.S.; and declaration of war search
  • spinning machines; TJ orders search
  • Thornton, William; and merino sheep search
  • Thornton, William; and spinning machines search
  • Thornton, William; health of search
  • Thornton, William; letters from search