Thomas Jefferson Papers

Henry Bry to Thomas Jefferson, 14 October 1821

From Henry Bry

Ouachita 14th Octbr 1821–


I can hardly presume that you can remember my visit at Monticello on the 28th of June last which I shall never forget. Since I left your hospitable mansion I travelled through the Northern & Eastern States, went in Canada viewed the falls of Niagara; by far the grandest Sight I have beheld in the Union; I crossed lake Erie to Portland and the State of Ohio diagonally where I Saw a wilder and newer Country than even this remote part of the State of Louisiana. As far as Columbus, it is quite in the Cradle and a rough and poor one it is: My observations through these States would afford you nothing new; you are better informed than myself about the countries I visited. I Shall only mention that after Seeing our most renown’d Colleges, I found but one Institution of that kind which pleased me—That is West Point Academy, and there I intend to place my Son in one or two years If I can get him admitted.

While I was with you; you expressed a wish to get Some cuttings of a kind of Rose which I represented as a valuable plant to make a very handsome and excellent hedge: We looked on Some of your Botanical Books to Identify the Species—We could not: Since my arrival here having the plant before me, I have been able to ascertain it—It is “The Rosa Sinica, germinibus Subglobosis, glabris; pedunculis aculeatis, hispidis; caule petiolisque aculeatis; calicinis foliolis lanceolatis, Subpetiolatis. Lin. Syst. Veget. 394.”—“The Rosier fleuri. Rosa Semperflo[rens”] of Lamarck—I mention this that you may Ascertain if it is already cultivated in your neighbourhoo[d.]

I Shall at all events (unless you Should direct me otherwise) forward the cuttings I promised you in January or1 begg of February—I Should be very glad (I would almost Say very proud) If our country can afford any thing you would wish, I would procure it with pleasure—With the highest Esteem & Consideration I am Your obt Servt


H. Bry

RC (MHi); edge trimmed; endorsed by TJ as received 1 Dec. 1821 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); left half of address cover only; with TJ’s Account with Youen Carden, [ca. 14 June 1824], on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jeffe[rson] [. . .] Mon[ticello] Charlottesville [. . .]”; postmarked.

Bry’s son, Henry M. Bry, was admitted to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1823. Two years later the elder Bry petitioned for his son’s reinstatement as a cadet after he had been dismissed for inattention to his studies (Patrick G. Wardell, Genealogical Data from United States Military Academy Application Papers, 1805–1866 [2002], 1:102, 123).

The description of the rosa sinica comes from the section on rosier fleuri in Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck and Jean Louis Marie Poiret, Encyclopédie Méthodique: Botanique (Paris, 1783–1808; for this work as a whole, published 1782–1832, see Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4889), 6:283. TJ received the seeds of this plant, the Cherokee rose (rosa laevigata), from John Milledge late in 1803 and had it planted at Monticello the following spring (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, James P. McClure, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 44 vols. description ends , 42:30; Betts, Garden Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book, 1766–1824, 1944 description ends , 291, 293).

1Manuscript: “of.”

Index Entries

  • books; on botany search
  • botany; books on search
  • Bry, Henry; and roses search
  • Bry, Henry; letters from search
  • Bry, Henry; travels of search
  • Bry, Henry; visits Monticello search
  • Bry, Henry M.; and U.S. Military Academy search
  • Cherokee rose search
  • Encyclopédie Méthodique: Botanique (Lamarck and Poiret) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; TJ’s personal search
  • Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de; Encyclopédie Méthodique: Botanique search
  • Milledge, John; and roses search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Bry, Henry search
  • Niagara Falls; praised search
  • Ohio; described search
  • Poiret, Jean Louis Marie; Encyclopédie Méthodique: Botanique search
  • roses; Cherokee search
  • United States Military Academy (West Point, N.Y.); students at search