Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to Nicholas Lewis, 8 August 1790

To Nicholas Lewis

New York Aug. 8. 1790.

Dear Sir

Congress have resolved to rise the day after tomorrow and if nothing unforeseen happens, I think I may be at Monticello from the 1st. to the 8th. or 10th. of September, where I hope to remain a month. I have this day written to Mr. Brown of Richmond to send up some necessaries for which I shall have occasion during my stay. We must once more trouble our neighbors on the score of beds. If the bedding of my daughters is still at Monticello, 3. beds and bolsters in addition to theirs will do. There will be no need of either sheets or blankets. It is the last time we shall have occasion to trespass in this way, as I have ordered from Europe a sufficient supply of what is necessary in this line for Monticello, which I had hoped would be arrived before this. How- [ever] it is not, and cannot now come in time.—You will be so good as to direct a sufficient stock of fattened meats. It will be the season for good woodland beef, which is the best possible.—I have received my bacon and venison hams here in good condition, for which I must thank Mrs. Lewis in particular: adding due acknolegements to Colo. Bell. I inclose a letter from France for Monsr. Derieux.

No certainty yet whether England and Spain will be engaged in the war. Enough are engaged however to ensure a good price for wheat for years to come. It is at a dollar here. As I shall see you within a week or fortnight after you recieve this, I shall only add affectionate respects to Mrs. Lewis, and assurances of the esteem & attachment with which I am Dear Sir your sincere friend & servt.,

Th: Jefferson

PrC (MHi). Enclosure not found.

The letter from Mrs. Lewis about the Bacon and Venison hams is printed above (Vol. 1: 40–1) under the erroneous date of 14 [April[?] 1770. The figures in the date are deceptive, but the correct reading is obviously that supposed by TJ in an entry in SJL for 12 May 1790, which reads: “Lewis Mary, Albem. 14 (April [1790] I suppose).” Colo. Bell was probably Thomas Bell (d. 1800), an Albemarle neighbor (VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893- description ends , xxi [1912], 8–9). The term Woodland Beef is not recorded in DAE description begins Sir William A. Craigie and James Hulbert, eds., A Dictionary of American English, Chicago, 1938–1944 description ends , but, given the date and the context, the meaning is clear: i.e., beef cattle fattened in woodland ranges as distinguished from stall-fed beef. In the earlier phases of colonial agriculture woods were burned annually in the spring to promote the growth of grass for cattle (DAE description begins Sir William A. Craigie and James Hulbert, eds., A Dictionary of American English, Chicago, 1938–1944 description ends , Wood, I, b.). TJ’s lease of Shadwell to Craven Peyton on 1 Oct. 1799 provided that “his stock shall have free range on all the uninclosed woodlands… on the same side of the river” (Betts, Farm Book, 167–8).

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