Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Michael Fry and Nathan Coleman, 17 October 1801

From Michael Fry and Nathan Coleman

Philada Oct 17 1801


The Victualers (Butchers) of Philadelphia have long been distinguished among their fellow Citizens, for their support of and attachment to Republican principles; and at the late election they have the satisfaction of seeing one of their own proffession elevated to the dignity of a representative in the State Assembly. This is indeed the triumph of republicanism

The Subscribers rejoiced at the downfall of a faction who wished to raise the rich & proud, over the humble and industrious Citizen; and we are now happy in being enabled to place confidence in the Man who while a private citizen laboured with success to remove the European prejudice “That Animals were inferior & Degenerated in the New World”

As a further confirmation of the truths you have so well established we pray you to accept a hind Quarter of the largest Calf of her Age which we remember to have seen in this part of the Country. We have dressed it well and packed it in superfine flour; and as the weather is cool there is no doubt but it will be as good when it arrives in the City of Washington as if it had been dressed this day in Philada.

We hope that you will consider this as a small token of our Attachment and Gratitude—happy that we have lived to see the time, when we may, with sentiments of respect & Veneration, subscribe ourselves without giving Offence.

Your fellow Citizens

Mich Fry

Nathan Coleman

The Calf weighed when Alive 438 lb. when dressed for the Market 315

Her age—115 Days

RC (DLC); closing quotation mark supplied; at foot of text: “To Thomas Jefferson President of the U.S.”; endorsed by TJ as received 20 Oct. and so recorded in SJL with notation “veal 115 days old 438. ℔ alive 315. ℔ dressed.”

Michael Fry was a victualler at 56 North Sixth Street, Philadelphia, in 1802 (James Robinson, The Philadelphia Directory, City and County Register, for 1802 [Philadelphia, 1802], 94).

One of their Own Proffession: Philip Odenheimer, a Philadelphia butcher (Journal of the First Session of the Twelfth House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania [Lancaster, 1801, i.e., 1802], 3; Stafford, Philadelphia Directory, for 1801, 80).

TJ countered european prejudice about the size of animals in North America in his Notes on the State of Virginia (Notes, ed. Peden description begins Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, ed. William Peden, Chapel Hill, 1955 description ends , 43–58).

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