Thomas Jefferson Papers

Christopher Clark to Thomas Jefferson, 14 October 1812

From Christopher Clark

Mount Prospect. Oct 14th 1812.

Dear Sir,

I am about to abandon a profession, which has, for upwards of twenty years, so constantly engaged my attention, as to afford me little or no opportunity to attend to other subjects. I now, though a perfect novice in the art, intend to dedicate the remainder of my days to farming; and, for the purpose, of his acquiring, from observation, some information on the subject, I have sent out my manager, Wm Saunders. He has, for two years, lived at my home plantation; and I have always found him a man of great honesty and integrity, and one who possesses a good understanding. He will, most probably, in the course of his journey, visit Montecello, for the purpose of examining Mr Randolph’s farm. I have taken the liberty of directing him to call you also, and to ask the favour of taking a survey of your plantation, Mills, and any other useful machinery under your controul.

As, the last time I had the pleasure of seeing you, you expressed to me, a determination to turn your attention to farming, I suppose your judgement on that subject has become pretty well matured; and any information which you may think proper to give Mr Saunders, will by him, as well as by myself, be received with great satisfaction.

Have you any of the Shepherds’ dogs? and if you have, can you spare a pair? I am anxious to procure some, as I am taking great1 pains with my sheep.

I am, with respect and esteem, Yours, &c

Christopher Clark

RC (MHi); letter and signature in an unidentified hand; endorsed by TJ as received 23 Oct. 1812 and so recorded in SJL.

Clark was considering giving up the legal profession.

William Saunders, farmer and overseer, executed occasional commissions for the Bedford County Court between 1801 and 1836. In 1803 he began acquiring land in the county along the Little Otter River. Three years later he purchased four slaves, and in 1820 he joined George Wright in the purchase of seven additional slaves (Bedford Co. Order Book, esp. 12:214, 25:207; Bedford Co. Deed Book, 11:861–2, 12:218, 16:296–7).

1Word interlined in place of “some.”

Index Entries

  • Clark, Christopher Henderson; letters from search
  • Clark, Christopher Henderson; recommends W. Saunders search
  • dogs; shepherd search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); and W. Saunders search
  • Saunders, William; identified search
  • Saunders, William; overseer for C. Clark search
  • sheep; C. Clark’s search