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rise to this application. That it has done so in other instances, I have good reasons to believe. .
I am much pleased with the account you have given of the succory. This, like all other things of the sort with me, since my absence from home, has come to nothing; for neither my overseers nor manager will attend properly to any thing but the crops they have usually cultivated ; and, in spite of all I can say, if there is the smallest discretionary power allowed them, they will fill the land with Indian corn, although even to themselves there are the most obvious traces of its baneful effects. I am resolved, however, as soon as it shall be in my power to attend a little more closely to my own concerns, to make this crop yield in a degree to other grain, to pulses, and to grasses. I am beginning again with chiccory, from a handful of seed given me by Mr. Strickland, which, though flourishing at present, has no appearance of seeding this year. Lucerne has not succeeded better with me than with you; but I will give it another and a fairer trial before it is abandoned altogether. Clover, when I can dress lots well, succeeds with me to my full expectation, but not on the fields in rotation, although I have been at much cost in seeding them. This has greatly disconcerted the system of rotation on which I had decided.
I wish you may succeed in getting good seed of the winter vetch. I have often imported it, but the seed never vegetated, or in so small a proportion, as to be destroyed by weeds. I believe it would be an acquisition, if it was once introduced properly in our farms. The Albany pea, which is the same as the field pea of Europe, I have tried, and found it will grow well; but is subject to the same bug which perforates the garden pea, and eats out the kernel. So it will happen, I fear, with the pea you propose to import. I had great expectation from a green dressing with buckwheat, as a preparatory fallow for a crop of wheat, but it has not answered my expectation yet. I ascribe this, however, more to mismanagement in the times of seeding and ploughing in, than any defect of the system. The first ought to be so ordered, in point of time, as to meet a convenient season for ploughing it in, while the plant is in its most succulent state. But this has never been done on my farms, and consequently has drawn as much from, as it has given to the earth. It has always appeared to me that there were two modes in which buck-wheat might be used advantageously as a manure. One, to sow early, and, as soon as a sufficiency of seed is ripened, to stock the ground a second
time, to turn the whole in, and when the succeeding growth is getting in full bloom, to turn that in also, before the seed begins to ripen; and, when the fermentation and putrefaction ceases, to sow the ground in that state, and plough in the wheat. The other mode is, to sow the buckwheat so late, as that it shall be generally about a foot high at the usual seeding of wheat; then turn it in, and sow thereon immediately, as on a clover lay, harrowing in the seed lightly to avoid disturbing the buried buckwheat. I have never tried the latter method, but see no reason against its succeeding. The other, as I observed above, I have prosecuted, but the buckwheat has always stood too long, and consequently had got too dry and sticky to answer the end of a succulent plant.
But of all the improving and ameliorating crops, none in my opinion is equal to potatoes, on stiff and hard bound land, as mine is. I am satisfied, from a variety of instances, that on such land a crop of potatoes is equal to an ordinary dressing. In no instance have I failed of good wheat, oats, or clover, that followed potatoes; and I conceive they give the soil a darker hue. I shall thank you for the result of your proposed experiment relative to the winter vetch and pea, when they are made.
I am sorry to hear of the depredations committed by the weevil in your parts ; it is a great calamity at all times, and this year, when the demand for wheat is so great, and the price so high, must be a mortifying one to the farmer. The rains have been very general, and more abundant since the 1st of August, than ever happened in a summer within the memory of man. Scarcely a mill-dam, or bridge, between this and Philadelphia, was able to resist them, and some were carried off a second and third time.
Mrs. Washington is thankful for your kind remembrance of her, and unites with me in best wishes for you. With very great esteem and regard, I am, dear Sir, &c.
TO THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE FEDERAL DISTRICT.
Mount Vernon, 21 October, 1796. GENTLEMEN,
According to my promise, I have given the several matters, contained in your letter of the 1st instant, the best consideration I am able. The following is the result; subject, however, to al
terations, if upon fuller investigation and the discussion I mean to have with you on these topics on my way to Philadelphia, I should find cause therefor.
Had not those obstacles opposed themselves to it, which are enumerated by one of the commissioners, I should, for reasons which are now unnecessary to assign, have given a decided preference to the site, which was first had in contemplation for a university in the Federal City. But, as these obstacles appear to be insurmountable, the next best site for this purpose, in my opinion, is the square surrounded by numbers twenty-one, twentytwo, thirty-four, forty-five, sixty to sixty-three, and I decide in favor of it accordingly.
Conceiving, if there be space sufficient to afford it, that a botanical garden would be a good appendage to the institution of a university, part of this square might be applied to that purpose. If inadequate, and the square, designated in the plan of Major L'Enfant for a marine hospital, is susceptible of that institution and a botanical garden also, ground there might be appropriated to this use. If neither will adınit of it, I see no solid objection against commencing this work within the President's square, it being previously understood, that it is not to be occupied for this purpose beyond a certain period; or until circumstances would enable or induce the public to improve it into pleasurewalks.
Although I have no hesitation in giving it as my opinion, that all the squares, excepting those of the Capitol and President, designated for public purposes, are subject to such appropriations as will best accommodate public views; yet it is and always has been my belief, that it would impair the confidence, which ought to be had in the public, to convert them to private uses, or to dispose of them otherwise than temporarily to individuals. The plan which has been exhibited to, and dispersed through, all parts of the world, gives strong indications of a different design ; and an innovation, in one instance, would lay the foundation for applications in many, and produce consequences, which cannot be foreseen, nor perhaps easily remedied. My doubts, therefore, with respect to designating the square on the Eastern Branch for a marine hospital, did not proceed from an idea that it might be converted, advantageously, into salable lots, but from the utility of having an hospital in the city at all. Finding, however, that it is usual in other countries to have them there, the practice, it is to be presumed, is founded in convenience; and, as it might be difficult to procure a site out of the city, which would answer the purpose, I confirm the original idea of placing it where it is marked in L'Enfant's plan.
I am disposed to believe, if foreign states are inclined to erect buildings for their representatives near the government of the United States, that the sites for these buildings had better be left to the choice of their respective ministers. For, besides the reasons which have been already adduced against innovations, it is very questionable, whether ground so low as that in the Capitol square, west of the building, would be their choice. To fix them there, then, might be the means of defeating the object altogether.
As the business of the executive officers will be chiefly, if not altogether, with the President, sites for their offices ought to be convenient to his residence. But, as the identical spots can be better chosen on the ground, with the plan of the city before me, than by the latter alone, I will postpone this decision until my arrival therein; as I shall also do other appropriations of public squares, if it be necessary to take the matter up before my return to Philadelphia.
It might be well to amplify on those subjects, which you conceive ought to be laid before Congress, or the national council, and to suggest the mode, which you may have contemplated as best for the purpose, against my arrival, which, probably, will be on Tuesday or Wednesday next. With great esteem, I am, &c.
TO SIR JOHN SINCLAIR.
Philadelphia, 11 December, 1796. Sir, The near view which you have of the revolution in France, and of the political state of things in Europe, especially those of Great Britain, has enabled you to form a judgment with so much more accuracy than I could do, of the probable result of the perturbed state of the countries, which compose that quarter of the globe, and of the principal actors on that theatre, that it would be presumption in one at the distance of three thousand miles, to give an opinion relative to either men or measures ; and therefore I will proceed to the information required in your private letter of the 11th of September, which I will give from the best knowledge I possess, and with the candor you have a right to expect from me.
The United States, as you well know, are very extensive, more than fifteen hundred miles between the northeastern and southwestern extremities; all parts of which, from the seaboard to the Appalachian Mountains, which divide the eastern from the western waters, are entirely settled ; though not as compactly as they are susceptible of; and settlements are progressing rapidly beyond them.
Within so great a space, you are not to be told, that there is a great variety of climates, and you will readily suppose, too, that there are all sorts of land, differently improved, and of various prices, according to the quality of the soil, its contiguity to, or remoteness from, navigation, the nature of the improvements, and other local circumstances. These premises, however, are only sufficient for the formation of a general opinion; for there are material deviations, as I shall mention hereafter.
In the New England States, and to Pennsylvania inclusive, landed property is more divided than it is in the States south of them. The farms are smaller, the buildings and other improvements generally better, and, of consequence, the population is greater ; but then the climate, especially to the eastward of Hudson's River, is cold; the winter long, consuming a great part of the summer's labor in support of their stock during the winter. A mildew, or blight, (I am speaking now of the New England States particularly,) prevents them from raising wheat adequate to their own consumption, and of other grains they export little or none, fish being their staple. They live well, notwithstanding, and are a happy people. Their numbers are not augmented by foreign emigrants; yet, from their circumscribed limits, compact situation, and natural population, they are filling the western parts of the State of New York, and the country on the Ohio, with their own surplusage.
New Jersey is a small State, and all parts of it except the southwestern are pleasant, healthy, and productive of all kinds of grain. Being surrounded on two sides by New York, and on the other two by Delaware River and the Atlantic, it has no land of its own to supply the surplus of its population ; of course the emigrations from it are towards the Ohio.
Pennsylvania is a large State, and from the policy of its founder, and of the government since, and especially from the celebrity of Philadelphia, has become the general receptacle of foreigners from all countries, and of all descriptions; many of whom soon take an active part in the politics of the State; and, coming over full of prejudices against their own governments, some against all