Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to John Adlum, 13 June 1822

To John Adlum

Monticello June 13. 22.


Your favor of the 5th has been duly received,1 covering my two letters to you of Oct. 7. 1809. and Apr. 20. 1810.2 which I now return3 of these be pleased to make whatever use you think proper. but I should think the4 first half of the last letter had better be omitted, as it would encumber mr Skinner’s columns with matter entirely useless & uninteresting to his readers. I am very glad to learn that you are pushing that culture, and I hope you will particularly that of what I would call the Caumartin grape, as it’s wine resembles so exactly that of the Caumartin Burgundy. I presume you know that a wine of remarkable merit is made in considerable quantities in a district of N. Carolina on Scuppernon creek. this wine, when it can be obtained unbrandied would be drank at the first tables of Europe in competition with their best wines. what of it however is sent to the general market at Norfolk is so brandied as to be unworthy of being called wine. to get it without brandy requires a troublesome correspondence & special agent. until this fatal error is corrected, the character of our wines will stand very low. Accept the assurance of my great esteem and respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViU: TJP); addressed: “Majr John Adlum near Georgetown Col.”; franked; postmarked Charlottesville, 18 June; endorsed by Adlum. PoC (DLC); on verso of a reused address cover from Caesar A. Rodney to TJ; endorsed by TJ. Enclosures: enclosures to Adlum to TJ, 5 June 1822.

By caumartin grape TJ apparently meant the Alexander grape. Earlier in his retirement, TJ had compared favorably the wine produced by Adlum in Maryland to two French reds: caumartin burgundy, which may have been a Pommard of the Clos de la Commaraine (MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 1:675; TJ to Jean David, 25 Dec. 1815), and Chambertin, a “burgundy wine made from Pinot Noir grapes grown in vineyards located in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin” (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 ; TJ to Adlum, 7 Oct. 1809).

An undated letter from “Skinner” (probably the agricultural writer John S. Skinner), which came “with Millet,” is recorded in SJL as received 3 Aug. 1822 from Baltimore, but has not been found.

1Manuscript: “recived.”

2Reworked in RC from “Apr. 10. 1820,” presumably by Adlum. Not corrected in PoC.

3Preceding four words interlined.

4Manuscript: “the the.”

Index Entries

  • Adlum, John; and publication of TJ’s correspondence search
  • Adlum, John; and wine search
  • Adlum, John; letters to search
  • alcohol; brandy search
  • American Farmer; prints TJ’s writings search
  • brandy; as wine additive search
  • burgundy (wine) search
  • food; millet search
  • grapes; Alexander (Cape of Good Hope) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; publication of papers search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; wine search
  • millet search
  • scuppernong (wine) search
  • Skinner, John Stuart; andAmerican Farmer search
  • Skinner, John Stuart; letter from accounted for search
  • wine; brandy added to search
  • wine; burgundy search
  • wine; scuppernong search