Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Hawkins, 28 December 1792

From Benjamin Hawkins

28 Decr. 1792

Hops are planted in checks of six feet square; a foot square at the check spaded a foot deep and manured, seven cuttings are planted in each check. The following is a minute of the expence and produce of hops at stowmarket in Suffolk.

Stock £25 for poles, the interest of which £1. 5.0
Rent £2. Tythe £1. rates 14/ 3.14.0
Three load of poles at 22/ annually 3. 6.0
manure four loads a year 16.0
Labour £3.10. 3.10.0
carriage of poles and sharpening 3.0
Picking 6 ct. drying, & Carting 10/ perct. 3. 0.0
Bagging 3/. Kiln 5/. 8.0
Duty at /1d. and 15 perct. 3. 4.0
Carting to Sturbitch fair 1/6 9.0
Fences and draining 10.0
20. 5.0
Interest of this sum. 1. 0.0
21. 5.0

The price has been as follows

1782 £ 4. 0
3 6. 6
4 6. 6
5 5.10
6 5.10
average suppose £5.
6 ct. at £5. £30. 0.0
Expences 21. 5 
profit  8.15.

In one other plan I find an acre has produced 13 ct. and in an other 20 ct.

The acre contained twelve hundred hills or cheks, three poles to the check, or 3600 to the acre. The average value is what we want, as to the expence you can readily see the saving with us.

Being on the subject of farming I will give you some information on grasses.

Mr. Bassett informed me that the best grass which he has is called white bent and he believed it was brought in his neighbourhood by the birds, he promised me some of the seed. Upon examining the Hortus Kewensis, I find it to be known in England and is the Agrostis.

Agrostis. Triandria Digynia

Cal. 2—valvis, uniflorus, corolla paulo minor. Stigmata, longitudinaliter hispida.


7. A. panicula laxa, calycibus muticis æqualibus, culmo repente.

White Marsh Bent-grass.
Nat. of Britain
Fl. July

When you see Mr. B., speak to him about it, and I am sure you will apply for some of the seed; from his discription it is greatly superior by being brought to this country, to any in that country, or to Timothy for moist lands. Adieu,


RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ: “Hops.”

Senator Hawkins drew his data about Hops at Stowmarket in Suffolk almost verbatim from “Minute of the Expence and Produce of Hops, at Stowmarket, in Suffolk,” in Arthur Young, ed., Annals of Agriculture, and other Useful Arts, viii (London, 1787), 370–2. Although the other two plans for hop production mentioned by Hawkins cannot be identified with the same degree of certainty, “A Five Days Tour to Woodbridge, &c.,” same, ii (1784), 162–7, contains a plan of hop culture that yielded “from 1 Ct. … to 13 Ct.” per acre, and “A Week in Essex,” same, xviii (1792), 436–40, describes an experiment in hop growing in Hedingham that produced “20 cwt.” per acre. Both articles were written by Young.

Richard Bassett was a United States Senator from Delaware, 1789–93. Hortus Kewensis: Hortus Kewensis, being a Catalogue of the Plants cultivated in the Royal Garden at Kew, 3 vols. (London, 1789), by William Aiton, manager of the Botanical Garden; long in preparation, it included unacknowledged contributions by the botanist Daniel C. Solander, who died in 1782 (DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds. Dictionary of National Biography, 2d ed., New York, 1908–09, 22 vols. description ends ). Triandria Digynia: Linnaean sexual system classification of plants based on the number of stamens and pistils. The Editors gratefully record the assistance of Dr. Joseph Ewan of the Missouri Botanical Garden in the transcription and annotation of the part of this letter pertaining to grasses.

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