James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Richard Peters, 11 March 1811

From Richard Peters

Belmont March 11. 1811.

Dear Sir

Genl Armstrong, when in France, sent me over some Seeds; &, among them, about 2 Quarts of most remarkably fine Rye, of a Species entirely unknown here. With my usual Desire to disperse what I obtain in this Way, I distributed, in very small Portions, the whole of what I had, except about half a Pint. I planted my Modicum in single Grains, in Drills; &, after some Growth, I found that each Grain produced 3 Plants; which I separated & transplanted. I never saw so strong & vigorous a Plant of the Kind. The Rye of this Part of the Country is very much deteriorated; & I am very anxious to obtain a Supply, so as to ensure & accelerate Abundance. I am advised by Genl Armstrong that I can do this in no Way, but by having a small Supply conveyed in some public Vessel; as he can not tell where it can be obtained, otherwise than thro’ our Danl Parker, near Paris; at whose Farm he obtained the small Quantity he sent to me. I wrote to D. P. by the last publick Ship, which sailed from N. Port; but know not whether my Letter will arrive to his Hands; as no Person had the particular Charge of it. I have again written to him; & beg the Favour of you to have the enclosed sent. I am not acquainted with Mr Barlow, so as to justify my asking him to ⟨a⟩ssist in my Object. But, as I concieve the getting this Grain into the Country ⟨w⟩ill be a publick Benefit, I am induced to ask you to be so obliging as to ⟨me⟩ntion the Matter to him, so that if a Licence is necessary to warrant the Officer of the Ship to bring the little Parcell I expect, there may be no Difficulties on this Score.

I recommend your getting some into Virginia; as an Object well worthy Attention. Its Straw is solid & strong, so that it will not be likely to lay or lodge. I expect also, that it will resist the Fly. Its Meal is nearly as white as Wheat, & the Grain weighs 64 ℔ the Bushell. Genl A. could not tell me the botanical, or common Name, for this Grain; but said D. Parker knew all about it. With sincere Esteem I am truly yours,

Richard Peters

RC (DLC). Damaged by removal of seal.

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