Thomas Jefferson Papers

Charles Willson Peale to Thomas Jefferson, 10 April 1820

From Charles Willson Peale

Belfield April 10th 1820.

I have been Dear Sir

long oppressed under duty, respect and friendship, in having omited to write to you about the Plow which you so obligingly sent me.   The principle on which the form is given is undoubtably excellent, as the action is by strait lines, yet without a proper length is given to the mould board, all its advantages are lost.

I made repeated tryals of this Plow by an expert farmer at home, and also tryed the skill of one of my Neighbours, and on Mature deliberation, found the mould1 was too short, so that the sod coming against a Bluff, made it very heavy in the draught.

I then thought to have made a Model of a few Inches greater length, on your invention of principle, and send you a Plow, Which I am of opinion would then more gently raise the Sod, and without breaking it turn it over, the great desideratum of the Machine. But a multitude of Cases, imbarrisments & various labours from time to time has prevented the execution of my wishes, still thinking it must be done yet neglected so long that I am ashamed of the omission of addressing you, as in friendship bound to do. If now wrong, command the reparation and forgive

your Old friend

C W Peale

PS.  I send you a Rasor-strop & a Box of Paste to replenish, as believing you will [find?]2 it superior to most others for the fine edge it gives to your Razor.
The Partnership wished to send one ellegantly ornamented, But I choose to loose no time, by sending this.

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 19 Apr. 1820 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to James Madison, 13 Aug. 1820, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticella Virginia,” with Peale’s additional note: “with a small Package ⅌r Mail”; franked; postmarked Philadelphia, 12 Apr. PoC (PPAmP: Peale Letterbook); lacking postscript.

Peale’s son Charles Linnaeus Peale likely supplied the rasor-strop, as he had recently begun to manufacture them (Peale, Papers description begins Lillian B. Miller and others, eds., The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family, 1983– , 5 vols. in 6 description ends , 3:813).

1Word, interlined in RC, is not in PoC.

2Omitted word editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • household articles; razor-strop paste search
  • household articles; razor strops search
  • Peale, Charles Linnaeus; makes razor strops search
  • Peale, Charles Willson; and plows search
  • Peale, Charles Willson; and razor strops search
  • Peale, Charles Willson; letters from search
  • plows; TJ’s moldboard search
  • razors; strop paste search
  • razors; strops search