Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Milledge, 10 October 1809

To John Milledge

Monticello Oct. 10. 09.

Dear Sir

I have recieved from M. Thouin, Director of the National garden of France a collection of many different species of rice. whether any of them possess any properties which might render them preferable to those we possess, either generally, or under particular circumstances of soil or climate I know not. but the scripture precept of ‘prove all things & hold fast that which is good’ is peculiarly wise in objects of agriculture. as ours is not a climate for experiments on that plant, I think I cannot better dispose of the packet than by putting it into your hands, who have so much the power, as well as the disposition to essay whatever promises an useful result. I have for you a very fine Iceland ram with 4. horns, who will be sent down the river, as soon as the season restores it’s navigation, to Messieurs Gibson & Jefferson of Richmond to be forwarded to mr Newton at Norfolk for you. should the laws permit I must make another effort, through your kind instrumentality, to send some of your two kinds of Cotton seed to the Agricultural society of Paris. we shall probably know ere long whether our intercourse with that country will be re-opened soon. with my respectful compliments to mrs Milledge I salute you with great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Govr Milledge”; endorsed by TJ.

John Milledge (1757–1818), Revolutionary War veteran and lawyer, was a member of the colonial and state assemblies, United States representative (1792–93, 1795–98, 1801–02), governor of Georgia (1802–06), and United States senator (1806–09). He strongly backed TJ politically and served as president pro tempore of the Senate from 30 Jan. 1809 until he resigned and retired from public service that November. Milledge grew wealthy as a planter and was active in experimental agriculture and husbandry, developing a method for extracting sesame oil and working on improvements in cotton and wool production. He also made a key land donation to and was otherwise instrumental in the founding of the University of Georgia (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Barbara Buckley Brown, “John Milledge: Patriot, Politician, Philanthropist, 1757–1818” [master’s thesis, Georgia State University, 1980]; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States description ends , 4:333 [30 Jan. 1809]).

The scripture precept is from 1 Thessalonians 5.21.

Index Entries

  • Bible; Thessalonians referenced by TJ search
  • cotton; TJ sends seed to A. F. Silvestre search
  • gardens; Jardin du Roi search
  • Gibson & Jefferson (Richmond firm); and animals acquired by TJ search
  • Jardin des plantes et Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle; seeds from search
  • Milledge, John; and cottonseed search
  • Milledge, John; and sesame seed search
  • Milledge, John; identified search
  • Milledge, John; letters to search
  • Milledge, John; TJ sends Iceland ram to search
  • Milledge, John; TJ sends rice seeds to search
  • Milledge, Martha Galphin (John Milledge’s wife) search
  • Newton, Thomas; forwards ram to TJ search
  • rice; sent from Île de France search
  • sheep; Iceland ram search
  • Silvestre, Augustin François; cottonseed sent by TJ search
  • Société d’agriculture du département de la Seine; and cottonseed from TJ search
  • Thoüin, André; sends rice to TJ search