Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Richard Randolph, 13 May 1822

To Richard Randolph

Monticello May 13. 1822.

Dear Sir

Your favor of Apr. 10. was recieved in due time as had been some time before the 6. barrels of waterproof cement from you. I had already laid in as much Roman cement as did my 2d & 3d Cisterns, with a barrel surplus towards the 4th and last. the 2d and 3d were done under the superintendance of mr Coffee, and with perfect success. we opened a barrel of yours and he tried several fair and careful experiments according to the directions you had given. in every instance this cement dissolved on being put into water, while we saw that the Roman became immediately set and hard on being put into water. I have still one cistern to finish, but after the unsuccesful trials by mr Coffee who understood the manipulation of these things so much better than I do, I am afraid to risk it with yours. it would be giving up a finishing of the success of which we are certain for one which our experience teaches us to doubt at least. there is no call at the University for any thing of the kind nor could I recommend to that what I am afraid to try myself. in this state of things I will make any disposition of the 6. barrels you will direct. but seeing no probability of their being employed in this neighborhood, I think the best would be to send them down to you, which I will do if you think so also. I do not know whether you continue your pottery. if you do I will request of you 50. pots for the sea-kale such as you saw here, which indeed are made on the exact model of mr Wickham’s. if delivered packed in hogsheads to the order of Colo Peyton, he will, on sight of this letter, pay for them. accept the assurance of my great esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); on verso of a reused address cover from Bernard Peyton to TJ; at foot of text: “Mr Richard Randolph”; endorsed by TJ.

Images of shards from pots for the sea-kale found at Monticello are reproduced elsewhere in this volume.

Index Entries

  • building materials; cement search
  • building materials; cement, Roman search
  • cement; for cisterns search
  • cement; Roman search
  • cisterns; at Monticello search
  • Coffee, William John; and cisterns at Monticello search
  • kale; pots for search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); cisterns at search
  • Peyton, Bernard; and goods for TJ search
  • pots; clay search
  • Randolph, Richard; and cement search
  • Randolph, Richard; and earthenware for TJ search
  • Randolph, Richard; letters to search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; cisterns search
  • Wickham, John; and clay pots search