Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Barbour, 11 May 1821

To James Barbour

Monticello May 11. 21.

Dear Sir

On my return from Bedford I find here your favor of Apr. 30. I have no reciept for brewing, & I much doubt if the operations of malting & brewing could be succesfull[y] performed from a reciept. if it could, Combrune’s book on th[e] subject would teach the best processes: and perhaps might guide to ultimate success with the sacrifice of 2. or 3. trials[.] a capt Miller now of Norfolk, but who passes much of his time with Charles Bankhead in Spotsylva, was during the late war, confined by th[e] Executive to our neighborhood, perhaps indeed by yourself. I took him to my house. he had been a brewer in London, and undertook to teach both processes to a servt of mine, which during his stay here & on one or two visits afterwards in the brewing season, he did with entire success. I happened to have a servant of great intelligence and diligence both of which are necessary. we brew 100. galls of ale in the fall & [2?]00.1 galls in the spring, taking 8. galls only from the bushel of wheat.2 the public breweries take 15. which makes their liquor meagre and often vapid. we are now finishing our spring brewing. if you have a capable servt and he were to attend our fall brewing, so as to get an idea of the manual operation, Combrune’s book with a little of your own attention in the beginning might qualify him.

With my congratulations on the revolution of Italy, & it’s consequence of representative government to the whole of the continent of Europe I salute you with friendship & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of Michele Raggi to TJ, 6 Oct. 1820; edge trimmed; mutilated; at foot of text: “James Barbour esq.”; endorsed by TJ.

Peter Hemmings was the servt of mine whom TJ praised for his great intelligence and diligence.

1First digit illegible.

2Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • alcohol; ale search
  • ale search
  • Bankhead, Charles Lewis (Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead’s husband); J. Miller visits search
  • Barbour, James; and brewing search
  • Barbour, James; as governor of Va. search
  • Barbour, James; letters to search
  • brewing; at Monticello search
  • brewing; books on search
  • brewing; TJ on search
  • Combrune, Michael; The Theory and Practice of Brewing search
  • Hemmings, Peter (TJ’s slave; b.1770); and Monticello brewery search
  • Italy; and revolution in Naples search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; revolution in Naples search
  • Miller, Joseph (1776–1824); as brewer search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); brewery at search
  • Naples, kingdom of (later Kingdom of the Two Sicilies); revolution in search
  • War of1812; and confinement of British citizens search
  • wheat; for brewing beer search