Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Bernard McMahon, 8 April 1811

To Bernard McMahon

Monticello Apr. 8. 11.


I have been long wishing for an opportunity, by someone going to Philadelphia in the stage, to take charge of a packet of seeds for you. it is too large to trespass on the post-mail. I recieved them from my old friend Thouin, director of the National garden of France. but the advance of the season obliges me to confide them to a gentleman going no further than Washington, there to look out for some one going on to Philadelphia. I have added to them a dozen genuine Glocester hiccory nuts of the last season sent me from the place of their growth. your favor of the 10th Ult came safe to hand with the seeds, for which accept1 my thanks. you enquire whether I have a hot house, green-house, or to what extent I pay attention to these things. I have only a green house, and have used that only for a very few articles. my frequent & long absences at a distant possession render my efforts even for the few greenhouse plants I aim at, abortive. during my last absence in the winter every plant I had in it perished. I have an extensive flower border, in which I am fond of placing handsome plants or fragrant—those of mere curiosity I do not aim at, having too many other cares to bestow more than a moderate attention to them. in this I have placed the seeds you were so kind as to send me last. in it I have also growing the fine tulips, hyacinths, tuberoses & Amaryllis you formerly sent me. my wants there are Anemones, Auriculas, Ranunculus, Crown Imperials & Carnations: in the garden your fine gooseberries, Hudson & Chili strawberries: some handsome lillies. but the season is now too far advanced. during the next season they will be acceptable. small parcels of seeds may come by post; but bulbs are too bulky. we have always medical students in Philadelphia, coming home by the stage when their lectures cease in the fall who would take charge of small packages, or they may come at any time by vessels bound to Richmond,2 addressed to the care of Messrs Gibson & Jefferson. I have put into your packet some Benni seed. we now raise it and make from it our own sallad oil preferable to such olive oil as is usually to be bought. accept my friendly & respectful salutations

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Bernard McMahon”; endorsed by TJ.

McMahon sent TJ seeds late in 1809 and had earlier sent tulips and other bulbs (TJ to McMahon, 6 July 1808 [DLC]; McMahon to TJ, 24 Dec. 1809).

1Manuscript: “acccept.”

2TJ here canceled “under the.”

Index Entries

  • amaryllis search
  • anemone search
  • auricula search
  • carnations search
  • Chili strawberry search
  • crown imperial lily search
  • food; hickory nuts search
  • food; olive oil search
  • food; strawberries search
  • gardens; at Monticello search
  • Gibson & Jefferson (Richmond firm); and plants and bulbs acquired by TJ search
  • Gibson & Jefferson (Richmond firm); and seeds acquired by TJ search
  • Gloucester-nut hickory search
  • gooseberries; TJ orders plants search
  • hickory nuts; Gloucester-nut search
  • Hudson strawberry search
  • hyacinths search
  • lily; crown imperial search
  • lily; TJ requests of B. McMahon search
  • McMahon, Bernard; letters to search
  • McMahon, Bernard; sends seeds to TJ search
  • McMahon, Bernard; TJ orders seeds from search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); gardens search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); greenhouse at search
  • nuts; hickory search
  • oil; olive search
  • olives; oil search
  • ranunculus; TJ orders search
  • salad oil search
  • seeds; sent by TJ search
  • seeds; sesame search
  • sesame (benne; benni); TJ sends seeds of search
  • strawberries; Chili search
  • strawberries; Hudson search
  • Thoüin, André; sends seeds to TJ search
  • trees; hickory, Gloucester-nut search
  • trees; seeds of, sent to TJ search
  • tuberose search
  • tulips; at Monticello search
  • tulips; bulbs sent to TJ search