Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Richard Peters, 13 March 1794

From Richard Peters

Philada. 13 March 1794

My Dear Sir

Permit me to present you with the Plan I send you for a State Society of Agriculture. I drew it up at the Request of our Philada. Society and have Hopes that I shall get it thro’. It is only the Beginning of a Plan I have in View in which, at some future Day, I will attempt embarking our Government. At present I keep it out of View. I wish every State would do something in this Way as the Agriculture of our Country is too generally bad. You can do much, if Leisure is allowed you, in these Plans; which are among the Arts of Peace. But I fear we shall have other Arts to practice, as our Situation seems very critical. You are like many of the good Things in this World of which the Value is not either known or properly estimated ’till it is lost. If we get into the Bustle of War, which I hope more than think we shall avoid, you will be drawn out of your Recesses. This is a shabby World for there are few in it that can do as they please. But as too many would please to do wrong I believe this is a good Arrangement, tho’ it often disturbs honest Gentlemen who wish to be quiet. I am impatient for the Spring to open that I may have the Tranquillity and Enjoyments of my Farm. A small Portion of City Amusements is enough for me. Believe very sincerely yours

Richard Peters

RC (DNAL); at foot of text: “T. Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 24 May 1795 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, Outlines of a Plan, for establishing a State Society of Agriculture in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1794), presenting the report of a committee headed by John Beale Bordley urging the creation of a state agricultural society that would enjoy official recognition including incorporation, service of high state officials as Visitors, and eventual state contributions to a proposed program of endowed professorships of agriculture, a network of county agricultural societies and libraries, model farms, and sending agents to Europe to study farming techniques. See Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 715.

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