Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Patterson, 27 November 1816

To John Patterson

Poplar Forest Nov. 27. 16.

Dear Sir

The bearer of this mr George Flower is an English gentleman farmer, on a tour thro’ the US. to look for a settlement for his family and friends. he wishes to see what we consider the best course of farming as adapted to the particular circumstances of our country. on this ground I address him to yourself and mr Randolph. in return for any information you give him of that kind he will give you that of Europe generally, & of England most particularly, being well informed of the men and things of the day. he was the travelling companion of Birkbeck in his tour thro’ France which you have seen, and brings me letters of recommendation from the M. de la Fayette and M. de L’Asteyrie the agricultural writer, who speak in the highest terms of his worth. assured that you will be gratified with his conversation & acquaintance I consign him to your attentions & myself to your friendship

Th: Jefferson

RC (Harold Anthony Caccia, London, 1962); at foot of text: “John Patterson esq.” PoC (MHi); on verso of reused address cover of Francis Adrian Van der Kemp to TJ, 1 Nov. 1816; torn at seal; endorsed by TJ. Recorded in SJL as sent “by mr Flower.”

John Patterson (ca. 1784–1851), planter, was born in Maryland into a wealthy Baltimore family of merchants. The brother of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, in 1806 he married Mary Buchanan Nicholas, the daughter of Wilson Cary Nicholas and future sister-in-law of TJ’s grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph. The couple spent the next dozen years in Albemarle County. Patterson was active in the Agricultural Society of Albemarle, 1817–18, and he subscribed $1,000 toward the establishment of Central College. By early in 1819, however, he had sold his Virginia landholdings and returned to Maryland. Patterson owned real estate worth $40,000 at the time of his death at his Atamasco estate in Baltimore County (Louise Pecquet du Bellet, Some Prominent Virginia Families [1907; repr. 1976], 2:317; Richmond Virginia Argus, 17 June 1806; Woods, Albemarle description begins Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 1901, repr. 1991 description ends , 305; True, “Agricultural Society,” description begins Rodney H. True, “Minute Book of the Agricultural Society of Albemarle,” Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1918 (1921), 1:261–349 description ends 263, 280; Master List of Subscribers to Central College, [after 7 May 1817], document 5 in a group of documents on The Founding of the University of Virginia: Central College, 1816–1819, printed at 5 May 1817; TJ to Patterson, 31 Jan. 1819; DNA: RG 29, CS, Md., Baltimore Co., 1850; Baltimore Sun, 3 Jan. 1851).

Index Entries

  • Birkbeck, Morris; Notes on a Journey through France search
  • Flower, George; introduced to TJ search
  • Flower, George; TJ introduces search
  • Flower, George; U.S. tour of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, marquis de; introduces G. Flower search
  • Lasteyrie-Dusaillant, Charles Philibert, comte De; introduces G. Flower search
  • Notes on a Journey through France (M. Birkbeck) search
  • Patterson, John; identified search
  • Patterson, John; letter to search
  • Patterson, John; TJ introduces G. Flower to search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); TJ introduces G. Flower to search