To Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr.
Philadelphia July 28. 1793.
I have to acknolege your two favors of the 11th. and 19th. inst. The miscarriage of the servants clothes has happened, I presume, from the stupidity of the person here who carried them to the vessel, and (the captain being absent) delivered them to a saylor and took his receipt. The vessel has never come to this port again since I began to suspect the roguery.—I desired Mr. Brown to let all my furniture remain in the warehouse till I should come to Virginia, as I knew there would not be water in our river, before that, sufficient for navigation. I think to have the whole carried by water, if it can be guarded from rain.—I am availing myself of the time I have to remain here, to satisfy myself by enquiry from the best farmers of all the circumstances which may decide on the best rotation of crops; for I take that to be the most important of all the questions a farmer has to decide. I get more information on this subject from Dr. Logan than from all others put together. He is the best farmer in Pensylva. both in theory and practice, having pursued it many years experimentally, and with great attention. He thinks that the whole improvement in the modern agriculture of England consists in the substitution of red clover instead of unproductive fallows. He says that a rotation which takes in 3. years of red clover instead of 3. years of fallow or rest, whether successive or interspersed, leaves the land much heartier at the close of the rotation; that there is no doubt of this fact, the difference being palpable. He thinks it much best to sow it alone after harvest, for then it is in it’s prime the next year, whereas if sown in the spring it can neither be cut nor pastured that year. He takes generally but the spring cutting, which yeilds him 2. tons to the acre, and pastures the rest of the year. It is the red cover alone1 which has enabled the English farmer to raise and maintain cattle enough to make a coat of dung a regular part of his rotation. I had at first declined the introduction of red clover into my rotation because it lengthens it so much: but I have determined now to take it in, because I see it the source of such wonderful richness round this place. And for a Virginia table it will certainly give unbounded plenty of meats, milk, butter, horse-food, instead of being eternally on the scramble for them as we are in Virginia for the want of winter and summer food. Dr. Logan considers a green-dressing of buckwheat as equal to a coat of 10. loads of dung to the acre. (20 loads to the acre is what he thinks a good coat.) And as it is but 5. weeks from the sowing to it’s being fit to plough in, it may be well introduced after a harvest of small grain, if your next crop is only to be put in in the spring. After a great deal of consultation therefore with him, we have arranged my rotation thus. 1st. year. a crop of Wheat. Then a green-dressing of buck wheat. | 2d. peas and corn mixed. | 3d. wheat, and after it a green dressing of buck wheat, and, in the succeeding winter put on what dung you have. | 4th. potatoes and corn mixed. | 5th. rye and after it sow red clover. | 6th. cut the 1st. crop of clover and pasture the 2d. | 7th. pasture the 1st. crop, and cut the 2d. This change gives spring pasture and eases the mowing.2 | 8th. pasture. | Or expressed more shortly
RC (DLC); endorsed by Randolph as received 6 Aug. 1793. PrC (DLC).
1. Word interlined.
2. Preceding four words interlined.