Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Adlum to Thomas Jefferson, 5 June 1822

From John Adlum

Near George Town D.C. June 5th 1822

Dear Sir

I went last week to see the Baltimore cattle show, with a view to get the members of the Agricultural Society of Maryland to recommend the cultivation of the vine, and the making of wine—

I had previously sent four kinds of wine to the President of the society, and which was drank at the Societies dinner, and generally spoke favourably of—Particularly the kind made from a grape called the Bland, to which I have added Madeira, and is said to have been originally found in Virginia—

The enclosed letters were shewn to the President of the Society, Mr Skinner and others,1 Mr Skinner has a desire to publish them in his American Farmer, Which I could not consent to without your leave, I have therefore taken the liberty of sending them to you (that if you should consent to their publication) you may strike out such parts as you may think proper—Or if your inclination and leisure permit to write one with the substance more condensed—

I have now about four acres of vines now planted about two of which are in bearing, and the other two acres I expect will bear fruit next year—And I planted out about 14000 cuttings this season, and to my great mortification, I observe to day hundreds of the buds that were, just putting out schorched by the heat of the Sun which must have happened on fryday saturday and Sunday last—Where the leaf was fairly formed they resisted the heat of the sun and are growing, And I hope the number will be sufficient to plant out ten acres, with what I have growing—

From present prospects I hope to make six or seven hundred gallons of wine this year, Last year while I was on a trip to the West Indies upwards of three hundred gallons of my wine turned to vinegar, for want of proper attention to racking

My desire to promote a new article of culture in our Country, And which I think of great importance, will I hope plead my excuse for troubling you—

I am Dear Sir With great respect Your most Obedt Servt

John Adlum

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 9 June 1822 and so recorded in SJL. RC (CtY: Franklin Collection); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Samuel B. H. Judah, 27 June 1822, on verso; addressed: “The Honble Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked Georgetown, 6 June. Enclosures: TJ to Adlum, 7 Oct. 1809, 20 Apr. 1810.

The president of the Maryland Agricultural Society (agricultural society of maryland) was Robert Smith, TJ’s secretary of the navy and, briefly, his attorney general. The grape called the bland was a variety of fox grape. racking is the process used to “draw off (wine, cider, etc.) from the sediment” (OED description begins James A. H. Murray, J. A. Simpson, E. S. C. Weiner, and others, eds., The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed., 1989, 20 vols. description ends ).

1In the left margin TJ here wrote “09. Oct. 7.10. Apr. 20.

Index Entries

  • Adlum, John; and grape cuttings search
  • Adlum, John; and publication of TJ’s correspondence search
  • Adlum, John; and wine search
  • Adlum, John; letters from search
  • Adlum, John; travels of search
  • agriculture; Maryland Agricultural Society search
  • American Farmer; prints TJ’s writings search
  • Baltimore, Md.; cattle show in search
  • cattle; in agricultural shows search
  • grapes; effect of weather on search
  • grapes; fox search
  • grapes; vine cuttings search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; publication of papers search
  • Madeira (wine) search
  • Maryland Agricultural Society search
  • Skinner, John Stuart; andAmerican Farmer search
  • Smith, Robert (1757–1842); as president of Maryland Agricultural Society search
  • weather; effect on crops search
  • weather; heat search
  • wine; Madeira search