Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John S. Skinner, 4 October 1820

To John S. Skinner

Monticello Oct. 4. 20.


When I had the pleasure of seeing you here, you asked for a letter from mr Calvin Jones to mr Burton on the subject of the Scupernon wine, and supposing I had recieved it from mr Burton I searched my alphabetical files under his name, and not finding it, I concluded I no longer had it. on a visit since that to mr Eppes he informed me that it was himself who had sent it to me. on my return, examining my files under his name, I found and now inclose it to you. I will ask the favor of a copy of it when you shall have printed it, and I salute you with great respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: TJ Papers, ser. 9); at foot of text: “Mr Skinner”; with signed note (edge trimmed) from Robert Gilmer, 7 May 183[ ], reading “This letter was given to me by Mr Skinner, the Editor of the American Farmer, in 1829.” PoC (MHi); on verso of a reused address cover from Thomas Mann Randolph to TJ; at foot of text: “Mr John S. Skinner”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: Calvin Jones to Hutchins G. Burton, [before 28 Apr. 1817] (printed as a letter of 17 June 1817 in American Farmer 3 [1822]: 332–3). This document, which was originally enclosed in John Wayles Eppes to TJ, 28 Apr. 1817, was located after print publication of that volume, has been added digitally, and will appear in the concluding supplement to the print edition.

Skinner gave TJ the pleasure of seeing him when he visited Monticello on 6 Sept. 1820 bearing an introductory letter from Tench Coxe (see note to TJ to Coxe, 13 Oct. 1820). Skinner recalled many years later that “Mr. Jefferson was going next day to his estate in Bedford, but was very civil, and as always highly entertaining and instructive, but not very exemplary in his dieting or drinking on that occasion; for we well remember, that in following his recommendation and example in eating millet, (then the one in his constant succession of hobbies,) and in mixing our wine too, at his instance, the consequence was what might have been expected—an intestine commotion in the abdominal regions … One agricultural or horticultural fact we remember to have heard from Mr. Jefferson. We were speaking of the influence of soils, climates, and manures on plants, when he said that a large income of some one whom he knew in Europe, from a Port wine estate, had been ruined by the application to it of fresh, unsuitable stable manure” (The Plough, the Loom, and the Anvil 3 [1851]: 491–2). Closer to the time of his visit, Skinner reported hearing from TJ that José Corrêa da Serra, “one of the most learned botanists” of his day, had “remarked to him that in his rambles over the Monticello estate, he had discovered a greater variety of individuals of the vegetable family than are to be found in all England” (American Farmer 2 [1821]: 401).

Index Entries

  • agriculture; and manure search
  • Burton, Hutchins Gordon; and scuppernong wine search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; TJ on search
  • Corrêa da Serra, José; visits Monticello search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); forwards letter to TJ search
  • food; millet search
  • health; dyspepsia search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; J. Corrêa da Serra search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; millet search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; wine search
  • Jones, Calvin; on scuppernong grape and wine search
  • Mill Brook (J. W. Eppes’s Buckingham Co. estate); TJ visits search
  • millet search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); plants growing at search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Corrêa da Serra, José search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Skinner, John S. search
  • plants; variety of, at Monticello search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visits to search
  • port (wine) search
  • scuppernong (wine) search
  • Skinner, John Stuart; and scuppernong wine search
  • Skinner, John Stuart; health of search
  • Skinner, John Stuart; letters to search
  • Skinner, John Stuart; visits Monticello search
  • wine; mixing of search
  • wine; port search
  • wine; scuppernong search
  • wine; served at Monticello search