Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Thweatt, 16 March 1817

To Archibald Thweatt

Monticello Mar. 16. 17.

Dear Sir

your favor of the 2d was recieved yesterday. I am much indebted to you for your attention to our turn-pike road, which was an electioneering maneuver of the scoundrel Yancey. the day the bill was postponed in spite of him he had the base hypocrisy to write to me and insinuate he had had it postponed. he attended our last court with a view of feeling the pulse of the people, but so many of his tricks were become known, that he shrunk from all contest, and declared himself no longer a candidate.

You make enquiry about the level of the river at Eppington, supposing it to have been taken by me for mr Eppes. it is like a dream to me that some examination of it was made by me, but so little do I remember about it that I am not quite sure of the fact. you ask the cost of a mill carrying 3. or 4. pair of stones. mine carries 2. pr. of burrs, the one of 5.f. the other of 6.f. and a pr. of rubbers for cleaning the grain, with all the modern labor-saving machinery, the house very roomly, & walls of stone. it cost me 10,000.D. but good judges say it ought to have cost but 8000. this is exclusive of the canal which alone cost me 20,000.D. and of the dam. the best handmill is that which has least machinery, so that the labor of him who works it is not wasted by friction. a pair of small stones about 2.f. diam. fixed under a gallows, with a handspike working loose in a hole in the runner going half thro’ it, and another in the top of the gallows, is the best I have known. for a horse mill, the best is a horisontal spur wheel fixed exactly as what we call the horsewheel of a threshing machine. these spurs drive a vertical trundle, on the1 spindle of which the running stone is fixed.

Our family all join in affectionate attachment to mrs Thweatt and yourself and I add assurances of sincere friendship & respect for both.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of a reused address cover from Jerman Baker to TJ; mutilated at seal, with missing text rewritten by TJ; at foot of text: “Archibald Thweatt esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

Thweatt’s favor of the 2d, not found, is recorded in SJL as received 15 Mar. 1817 from Eppington. roomly: “spacious; capacious” (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ).

1TJ here canceled “axis.”

Index Entries

  • agriculture; threshing machines search
  • Albemarle County, Va.; roads in search
  • dams; on Rivanna River search
  • Eppes, Francis (TJ’s brother-in-law); and Eppington search
  • Eppington (Eppes’s Chesterfield Co. estate); James River at search
  • horses; and threshing machines search
  • James River; water level of search
  • machines; threshing search
  • mills; advice on requested search
  • mills; construction costs of search
  • mills; dam for search
  • mills; stones for search
  • Rivanna River; dams on search
  • roads; in Albemarle Co. search
  • threshing machines search
  • Thweatt, Archibald; and mill construction search
  • Thweatt, Archibald; and proposed Albemarle Co. road search
  • Thweatt, Archibald; letters from accounted for search
  • Thweatt, Archibald; letters to search
  • Thweatt, Lucy Eppes (Archibald Thweatt’s wife); TJ sends greetings to search
  • Virginia; roads in search
  • Yancey, Charles (1766–ca.1825); and proposed Albemarle Co. road search