Kentucky Frankfort May 25th. 1806
The last Papers from Washington having announced your going to Monticello & there to repose a while from the arduous duties of Office; I am induced to address you on a subject of a private nature, tho’ one of general utility to the husbandman.
As Doctor Brown was preparing to descend the Mississippi this last spring, conversing on the construction of Plows & ploughing, he enquired of me, if I had ever seen any of the Mouldboards which had been invented by you; upon answering in the negative, he shewed the draft of it, as reported by the American philosophical Society in your letter to Sr. John Sinclair.
The business of the Fedl. Court being heavy on my hands at the time I borrowed the book & carried it to an ingenious Michanick who took down the dimensions of the Moulboard & has since formed the Block & marked it out in minature for making. From the figure of the Mouldboard; we are at a loss to know, the kind of Plow to which it is applicable—i.e.—whether to the common Barshear—or to a kind much used in Jersey called the Socket plow—having a peice of timber behind which goes into a Socket, answering the purpose of the Barr behind the eye of the plow.
If sir, you can conveniently spare as much leisure time as may be necessary to answer my enquiry, it will not only greatly oblige me, but may be the means of farther promoting the utility of that Machine, which has for ages reduced for the Farmer so much manual labor—This request would not have been made, could Dr. Brown have spared his book for a few days & given me time to examine the subject.
This State is perfectly tranquil at present, & nothing worth communicating occurs; I can only add assurances of my great respect & esteem & sincere wish for your health & happiness in this world of troubles
I am Dr. Sir in the language of truth your friend & servt.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.