Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Hugh Lennox, 13 June 1806

Washington June 13. 06.


I must intreat your pardon for troubling you with a small private commission which I do not possess the means of getting otherwise executed.   The difficulty of being supplied with fresh fruit at this place, and still more at Monticello where I pass the warm season, has led to the habitual use of it’s best substitute, called Syrop of punch, or sometimes Center, which I believe is merely a mixture of lemon juice, sugar & fine spirit in such exact proportions, that the addition of water only makes it good punch. but the dealers in this have got so much into the habit of buying the decaying fruit (because it is cheaper) to make it, that it is rarely now to be found of drinkeable quality. I am told that Jamaica is the only island at which this mixture is prepared, & certainly the quality of their spirit enables them to furnish it better than any other. my annual consumption of it is about 40. gallons, and the object of the present application to you is to have me furnished with about this quantity, once a year, either in bottles or casks, whichever will be least troublesome to you. the former would be safest against adulteration by the way. I presume you have some commercial connexion here to whom I could pay the amount for your use. the particular season of the year for the supply might depend on the best season for fresh fruit, or on your own convenience in any other respect. the most convenient port is Richmond or Alexandria, but the Collector of any port, if addressed to him, will recieve & forward it to me. I must again repeat that I am urged to ask this trouble from you, by the inability otherwise to get the supply. with my apologies therefore I pray you to accept my salutations & assurances of respect.

Th: Jefferson

MoSHi: Bixby Collection.

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