Thomas Jefferson Papers

Jonathan Russell to Thomas Jefferson, 30 December 1821

From Jonathan Russell

Washington 30th Decr 1821—

Mr Russell presents his respects to Mr Jefferson and takes the liberty to offer to him the homage of the enclosed address—

RC (MHi); dateline beneath body of text; endorsed by TJ as received 3 Jan. 1822 and so recorded in SJL; with Dft of TJ to Russell, 5 Jan. 1822, beneath endorsement. RC (ViU: TJP); address cover only; with Dfts of TJ to Francis W. Gilmer, 26 Apr. 1824, and subjoined Letter of Appointment to University of Virginia Faculty, [ca. 26 Apr. 1824], on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson late President of the United States of America Monticello”; franked. Enclosure: Russell, Address delivered before the Worcester Agricultural Society, September 27, 1821, being their Anniversary Cattle Show and Exhibition of Manufactures (Worcester, Mass., 1821), describing the history of agriculture as “coeval with the history of man” (p. 3); praising wheat, which, when given “the hospitable and fostering care of man,” provides “the staff of life” (p. 6); emphasizing the importance of adapting the plow so as to address the needs of different soils and crops; proclaiming that “Civilization and freedom are, indeed, essential to the prosperity of Agriculture” (p. 12); correlating the promotion of agriculture with the republic’s progress; and reporting on the activities of the cattle show and exhibition, which included a plowing match and awards for the best livestock, cloth, and other manufactures.

Jonathan Russell (1771–1832), diplomat and public official, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and graduated from Rhode Island College (later Brown University) in 1791. He studied law before pursuing commerce as a merchant in New York City and as agent for a firm in Charleston, South Carolina. Returning to Providence in 1799, the following year Russell delivered a Fourth of July oration there that was published in numerous editions and helped to establish him as a Republican leader in Rhode Island. He declined TJ’s 1804 appointment as United States consul at Tunis. Russell served as chargé d’affaires, at Paris, 1810–11, and at London, 1811–14. President James Madison nominated him to be minister plenipotentiary to Sweden in 1813, and after the Senate’s eventual approval Russell held the position of minister to the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway from 1814 until 1818. He was also one of the commissioners who negotiated the 1814 Treaty of Ghent. Shortly after his return to the United States, Russell settled in Mendon, Massachusetts, which he represented in the state legislature in 1820. He was a delegate to the Massachusetts constitutional convention, 1820–21, served one term in the United States House of Representatives, 1821–23, and was an officer of the Worcester Agricultural Society, 1821–24. A political supporter of Henry Clay, in 1822 Russell published a falsified copy of an 1815 letter he had written to President James Monroe regarding the Ghent treaty negotiations. This effort to harm John Quincy Adams’s presidential ambitions backfired, however, when Adams exposed the differences between the two versions. Russell again represented Mendon in the Massachusetts legislature, 1823–25. He moved permanently in 1829 to Milton, Massachusetts (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, repr. 1968, 20 vols. in 10 description ends ; Historical Catalogue of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, 1764–1894 [1895], 35; William Duncan, The New-York Directory, and Register, for the year 1794 [New York, 1794], 161; Charleston City Gazette and Daily Advertiser, 16 May 1797; Providence Journal and Town and Country Advertiser, 2 Oct. 1799; Russell, An Oration, pronounced in the Baptist Meeting-House, in Providence, on the Anniversary of American Independence, July 4, 1800 [Providence, 1800]; 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– , 45 vols. description ends , 43:71–2, 255–6, 672–3; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:347–8, 451–2, 454 [31 May, 1 June 1813, 14, 18 Jan. 1814]; Worcester National Ægis, 17 May 1820; Catalogue of the Officers and Members of the Worcester Agricultural Society [1840], 6, 16; Clay, Papers description begins James F. Hopkins and others, eds., The Papers of Henry Clay, 1959–92, 11 vols. description ends ; Adams, The Duplicate Letters, the Fisheries and the Mississippi. Documents relating to transactions at the Negotiation of Ghent [Washington, 1822; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 11 (no. 691)]; Massachusetts Register, and United States Calendar [1824]: 23; [1825]: 23; Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot, 20 Feb. 1832; gravestone inscription in Milton Cemetery).

Index Entries

  • Address delivered before the Worcester Agricultural Society, September 27, 1821, being their Anniversary Cattle Show and Exhibition of Manufactures (J. Russell) search
  • agriculture; Worcester Agricultural Society search
  • cattle; in agricultural shows search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • plows; used in agriculture search
  • Russell, Jonathan; Address delivered before the Worcester Agricultural Society, September 27, 1821, being their Anniversary Cattle Show and Exhibition of Manufactures search
  • Russell, Jonathan; identified search
  • Russell, Jonathan; letter from search
  • textiles; in agricultural exhibitions search
  • wheat; as crop search
  • Worcester Agricultural Society search