Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William Lee, 6 June 1817

To William Lee

Monticello June 6. 17.

Dear Sir

The National Intelligencer informs us there is a numerous party of Swiss stocking weavers arrived at Washington, and mr Barnes of Georgetown, now here, tells me he thinks they are under your patronage. believing it for their interest to distribute themselves to good posts in the country, I take the liberty of stating that I think there is no better stand for one or two of them than the town of Charlottesville, 3 miles distant from me. it is a mountainous country, of course healthy, inhabited by an industrious, thriving & independant yeomanry, whose wives & daughters would furnish much of the spun material, and all would buy that ready-woven. I have enquired and found they can be accomodated with comfortable quarters, paying from 20. to 30.D. a year for a good room. European goods are dear, but the necessaries of life very cheap. I have the promise of the merchants of the village that they will do every thing in their power to prosper them. if a family or families should come with bulky baggage, they had better come round by water to Richmond in the vessels constantly passing from your district to that place, where they will always find open batteaux coming up the river to Charlottesville. single persons may come direct in the stage from Washington to Charlottesville.

a silversmith, if any among them, would find great employment at the same place & would be particularly well recieved. we have there a fine watchmaker; a Swiss from Neufchatel, finding much more work than he can do, and taking in money as fast as he can earn it. he finds himself peculiarly happy and delighted with the country & his own situation. if you can encourage good subjects from among these emigrants you will ensure their success, accomodate this vicinage and do an acceptable favor to   your friend & servt

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover to TJ; at foot of text: “William Lee esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

The Washington Daily National Intelligencer of 24 May 1817 included a pseudonymous article by “A friend to manufactures and the District.” It reported that a group of swiss stocking weavers had set up a workshop there that employed “the new machinery of England, with the additional improvements of France,” and it touted the benefits of the enterprise for the local advancement of domestic manufactures. Charlottesville’s Swiss watchmaker was Louis A. Leschot.

Index Entries

  • Albemarle County, Va.; TJ on search
  • Barnes, John; visits Monticello search
  • boats; and river navigation search
  • Charlottesville, Va.; silversmith needed in search
  • Charlottesville, Va.; stagecoach to, from Washington search
  • Charlottesville, Va.; weavers needed in search
  • clothing; manufacture of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Albemarle Co. search
  • Lee, William (1772–1840); letters to search
  • Lee, William (1772–1840); weaving enterprise of search
  • Leschot, Louis A.; as watchmaker search
  • manufacturing; of clothing search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Barnes, John search
  • National Intelligencer (Washington newspaper); reports on manufacturing search
  • Richmond, Va.; boats transfer goods to and from search
  • silver; smiths search
  • Switzerland; emigrants from search
  • Washington, D.C.; stagecoach from search