Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Peter Laporte, 4 June 1819

To Peter Laporte

Monticello June 4. 19.


In answer to your request to be informed of the particular style of dieting the Students which would be approved by the visitors of the University, I can only say that, the University not being yet in action, nor the Hotels for boarding houses in readiness which will be at their disposal, no style of dieting has been agreed on: but if I may form a judgment from the conversations we have had on the subject I think something like the following course will meet their approbation.

for breakfast. wheat or cornbread, at the choice of each particular, with butter, and milk, or Coffee-au-lait, at the choice of each. no meat.

for dinner. a soup, a dish of salt meat, a dish of fresh meat, & as great a variety of vegetables well cooked as you please.

for supper. corn or wheat bread at their choice, & milk, or Coffee-au lait, also at their choice. but no meat.

their drink at all times water, a young stomach needing no stimulating drinks, and the habit of using them being dangerous.

and I should recommend as late a dinner as the rules of their school will admit.

no game of chance to be permitted in the house.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MH); on verso of reused address cover of Frederick A. Mayo to TJ, 4 May 1819; at foot of text: “Mr Laporte”; endorsed by TJ.

On this day Alexander Garrett wrote from Charlottesville to John H. Cocke, for whose namesake son he was making arrangements to attend the Charlottesville Academy, that Laporte was waiting for TJ to set the price of board; that he would be “ready to recieve the boys today. but the monticello gentry will not be ready With their matresses &c untill monday”; that “Mr. Jefferson was to see Le Porte yesterday and has given him a bill of fare, for the boys breakfast, dinner & supper, which he says must be strictly adheard to. this fare is for breakfast, Coffee or Tea, light bread with a little butter, & milk, no meats, for dinner, one dish of salt & one of fresh meat or fouls, with a variety of Vegatables, no desert, for supper the same as for breakfast”; and that Garrett had advised the younger Cocke of this menu, who, “while content with it, remarked he thought it full light” (RC in ViU: JHC).

Garrett had previously advised Cocke from Charlottesville on 24 May 1819 that “Laporte left here this day week promising to be here in 12 days from that time, while here he made known to Mr Jefferson, his distress for a small sum of money and Mr. J. made him an advance of $500. and the 62½$ now required of the boarders is to replace the 500$ and enable Laporte to open house, and keep it supplyed, it seems this is a begining not so flattering, but we hope for the best.” Later in the letter Garrett stated that “The mole trap shall be sent Mr. Jefferson” (RC in ViU: JHC).

Index Entries

  • alcohol; abstinence from search
  • bread; in students’ diet search
  • butter; in students’ diet search
  • Cocke, John Hartwell (1780–1866); and mole trap for TJ search
  • Cocke, John Hartwell (1780–1866); and son’s education search
  • Cocke, John Hartwell (1804–46); education of search
  • coffee; café au lait search
  • coffee; in students’ diet search
  • food; bread search
  • food; butter search
  • food; cornbread search
  • food; dessert search
  • food; fowl search
  • food; meat search
  • food; milk search
  • food; soup search
  • food; vegetables search
  • gambling; students prohibited from search
  • Garrett, Alexander; and Laporte’s boardinghouse search
  • Garrett, Alexander; and mole trap for TJ search
  • health; alcohol abstinence search
  • household articles; mattresses search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business and Financial Affairs; and Laporte’s boardinghouse search
  • Laporte, Peter; letters to search
  • Laporte’s boardinghouse (Charlottesville); bedding for search
  • Laporte’s boardinghouse (Charlottesville); boarders at search
  • Laporte’s boardinghouse (Charlottesville); charges for boarding at search
  • Laporte’s boardinghouse (Charlottesville); fare served at search
  • Laporte’s boardinghouse (Charlottesville); opening of search
  • mattresses search
  • milk; in students’ diet search
  • moles search
  • tea; drinking of search
  • Virginia, University of; Board of Visitors; and students’ diet search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; hotels search
  • water; in students’ diet search