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I have added this information, Sir, that you may be better able to decide on the kind of seed most proper for my farm. Permit me to ask one thing more. It is to favor me with
your opinion, and a plan, of the most complete and useful farm-yard, for farms of about five hundred acres. In this I mean to comprehend the barn, and every appurtenance which ought to be annexed to the yard. The simplest and most economical plan would be preferred, provided the requisites are all included. Mr. Welch will answer your draft for the cost of these articles, as before. He is advised of it. I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.
TO GEORGE MCCORMICK.
Mount Vernon, 27 November, 1786. Sir, I have received your letter of the 31st of October, and thank you for the information contained therein. Since which I have obtained a full account of the decisions in my favor against the settlers of my land on Miller's Run, from Mr. Smith.
Although those people have little right to look to me for favor or indulgences, and were told, if they run me to the expense of a law-suit, that they were not to expect any; yet, as they are now in my power, it is not my wish or intention to distress them more than the recovery of my property obliges me. They may, therefore, continue on their respective places, either as tenants, at an equitable rent, which shall be deemed reasonable between man and man, or as purchasers, if the terms can be agreed on between us; but neither they, nor any others, will ever get it for twenty shillings per acre. This is five shillings less per acre than these people would have given whilst the matter was in dispute, could we have agreed on the security and times of payment. It will be a matter of indifference to me whether I sell the land altogether, or in parcels of two, three, four, or five hundred acres, provided in the latter case the price is proportioned to the quality of the land and the improvements thereon; and provided also, that it is laid off in a regular form, and in such a manner as not to injure the rest. Nor should I be very solicitous about the
payments, if the principal is well secured, and the interest regularly paid at my own house, without giving me any trouble in the collection of it. For, if this should be the case, I would immediately put the bond or bonds in suit. A part of the purchase
money I should require down, or at a short period; perhaps one fourth. On these terms, also, I would dispose of my land in Fayette county, near Youghiogany.
If I had known, that you had removed from your former place of abode near my land to Catfish, I should not have taken the liberty of referring those, who might wish to become purchasers of it, to you, to show them the land, as it was too inconvenient for you to do it; but would have requested this favor of Colonel Cannon, who lives more convenient. The same cause prevents my requesting you to have an eye to it now. It could only suit a person, who lives near, and can know almost every day what is doing on the places, to take charge of them if the present occupants are determined to remove. But if your Jersey friends, or others, should want to become purchasers, you might oblige them, and me too, by letting them know that my lands are for sale.
If it is really necessary to have the outlines of the tract run, in order to ascertain the boundaries of it, I am very willing to pay the expense ; but the course by which this was done ought to have been taken from the patent, as the final act.
Mr. Lear, a young gentleman who lives with me, and who is the bearer of this letter, will probably deliver it. If he should stand in need of your advice or assistance, I pray you to give it to him. I am, Sir, &c.
TO THOMAS PETERS.
Mount Vernon, 4 December, 1786. Sir, Your letter of the 18th ultimo came duly to hand. From the number of fruitless inquiries I had made after spring barley before I applied to you, and the intervention, between the date of my letter and your answer, being considerable, I despaired of obtaining any of this grain; and therefore seeded the ground, which was at first designated for this crop, with wheat and rye.
I have also since heard, that many gentlemen, who have tried it (especially some on West River, where I know the lands are very fine, and such as I thought well adapted to this grain), do not find it answerable to their expectation. Nevertheless, as I wish to divide my seed-time, and am desirous of sowing clover and other grasses with barley, in preference to other grain, I would gladly take fifty bushels of it, and will depend absolutely upon
you for this quantity, which I pray may be sent to me, as soon as it can be obtained, by the packet. With respect to the latter I am anxious, because, having the seed in my possession, I can prepare accordingly, and not postpone my oat season in expectation of a barley one, and be disappointed at last, as was the case
If I find this essay likely to answer my expectation, I shall be better able to talk with you on a contract. The barley may be accompanied by the machine you speak of, as eligible for cleaning it, and I shall thank you for sending one. Let me know decidedly, if you please, whether I may depend upon the above quantity, in the manner mentioned. I have it now in my power (for it is offered to me) to get what I want from a brewer in Philadelphia, but I may even fail there, if your answer is delayed.
Can good clover seed (not imported seed, for that rarely is so,) be bought at Baltimore ? In what quantity, and at what price? There is not, I believe, a bushel of barley, of any kind, in this neighbourhood for sale. A Mr. Wales, who brews in Alexandria, gets all of this he can.
I am, Sir, &c.
TO CLEMENT BIDDLE.
Mount Vernon, 5 December, 1786. DEAR SIR, For your trouble in negotiating my certificate I thank you. If it is necessary, in order that you may receive the half-yearly interest thereon, I would wish you to keep it; if you can draw this without, it may be returned to me. In the mean time, inform me, if you please, if this certificate can be converted into cash, and upon what terms; that, if I should have occasion to make any purchases in Philadelphia, I may know the amount of this fund. The indents, to the amount of eighty-four dollars, I have received, and note the credit given me for the year and half interest.
The curtain stuff and nails are at hand safe, and will answer very well. The uncertainty of getting good spring barley (for I had made many fruitless inquiries in this State, and the parts of Maryland bordering on it, before I wrote to you,) induced me to put the ground, which I had first allotted for this grain, into wheat and rye ; but, if you could secure and send to me, by one of the first vessels bound from your port to Alexandria, fifty bushels, I VOL. XII. 37
will yet find as much ground as will receive this quantity of seed; or, if you have engaged one hundred bushels of this grain from Reuben Haines, as the expression of your letter seems to import, I will readily take it, but would not choose to be under any promise of supplying him with the produce of it; first, because being uncertain of the yield, and inclining to go pretty largely upon it if I find it likely to answer my purpose, I shall want a good deal for seed; and, secondly, because the freight around, it is to be feared, would sink too deep in the scales to render me any profit upon a small quantity.
The clover seed, as I conceived this had been a productive year of it, is high ; yet I would beg you to send me three hundred weight. As soon as I know the precise cost of this, and the barley, the money shall be remitted; or, if you have any dealings in Alexandria, and an order on me will answer your purposes equally as well, it shall be immediately paid.
If it is the same thing to Mr. Haines, whether I take fifty or a hundred bushels, I shall, under the circumstances already mentioned, prefer the former quantity. It is so essential to every farmer to have his seeds by him in time, that I would urge in strong terms, that these now acquired be sent to me by the first good water conveyance. The uncertainties and disappointments of last spring will always make me anxious to obtain all my seeds long before the season for sowing them shall have arrived. At any rate, let me know by post what it is I have to expect. Best wishes attend Mrs. Biddle. I am, dear Sir, &c.
P. S. Is the Jerusalem artichoke to be had in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia. Could as much of the root, or the seed, be got as would stock an acre? I want to bring it in with my other experiments for the benefit of stock.
TO THEODORIC BLAND.
Mount Vernon, 28 December, 1786. Dear Sir, I am now about to fulfil my promise with respect to the drill plough and timothy seed. Both accompany this letter to Norfolk, to the care of Mr. Newton. The latter I presume is good, as I had it from a gentleman on whom I can depend. The former, it is scarcely necessary to inform you, will not work to good effect in land that is very full either of stumps, stones, or large clods; but, where the ground is tolerably free from these and in good tilth, and particularly in light land, I am certain you will find it equal to your most sanguine expectation, for Indian corn, wheat, barley, pease, or any other tolerably round grain, that you may wish to sow, or plant in this manner. I have sown oats very well with it, which is among the most inconvenient and unfit grains for this machine.
To give you a just idea of the use and management of it, I must observe, that the barrel at present has only one set of holes, and those adapted for the planting of Indian corn, only eight inches apart in the row; but, by corking these, the same barrel may receive others, of a size fitted for any other grain. To make the holes, observe this rule; begin small and increase the size, till they admit the number of grains, or thereabouts, you would choose to deposit in a place. They should be burnt, and done by a guage, that all may be of a size, and made widest on the outside, to prevent the seeds choking them. You may, in a degree, emit more or less through the same holes, by increasing or lessening the quantity of seed in the barrel. The less there is in it, the faster it issues. The compressure is increased by the quantity, and the discharge is retarded thereby. The use of the band is to prevent the seeds issuing out of more holes than one at a time. It may be slackened or braced according to the influence the atmosphere has on the leather. The tighter it is, provided the wheel revolves easily, the better. By decreasing or multiplying the holes in the barrel, you may plant at any distance you please. The circumference of the wheels being six feet, or seventy-two inches, divide the latter by the number of inches you intend your plants shall be asunder, and it gives the number of holes required in the barrel.
By the sparse situation of the teeth in the harrow, it is designed that the ground may be raked without the harrow being clogged, if the ground should be cloddy or grassy. The string, when this happens to be the case, will raise and clear it with great ease, and is of service in turning at the ends of rows; at which time the wheels, by means of the handles, are raised off the ground, as well as the harrow, to prevent the waste of seed. A small bag, containing about a peck of the seed you are sowing, is hung to the nails on the right handle, and with a small tin cup the barrel is replenished with convenience, whenever it is necessary, without loss of time, or waiting to come up with the seed-bag at