To Monsieur Sylvestre Washington, July 15, 1808SIR,
-- I had received from you on a former occasion the four first volumes of the Memoirs of the Agricultural Society of the Seine, and since that, your letter of September 19th, with the 6th, 7th, 8ths, and 9th volumes, being for the years 1804 '5 '6, with some separate memoirs. These I have read with great avidity and satisfaction, and now return you my thanksfor them. But I owe particular acknowledgments for the valuable present of the Theatre de De Serres, which I consider as a prodigy for the age in which it was composed, and shows an advancement in the science of agriculture which I had never suspected to have belonged to that time. Brought down to the present day by the very valuable notes added, it is really such a treasure of agricultural knowledge, as has not before been offered to the world in a single work.
It is not merely for myself, but for my country, that I must do homage to the philanthropy of the Society, which has dictated their destination for me of their newly-improved plough. I shall certainly so use it as to answer their liberal views, by making the opportunities of profiting by it as general as possible.
I have just received information that a plough addressed to me has arrived at New York, from England, but unaccompanied by any letter or other explanation. As I have had no intimation of such an article to be forwarded to me from that country, I presume it is the one sent by the Society of the Seine, that it has been carried into England under their orders of council, and permitted to come on from thence. This I shall know within a short time. I shall with great pleasure attend to the construction and transmission to the Society of a plough with my mould board. This is the only part of that useful instrument to which I have paid any particular attention. But knowing how much the perfection of the plough must depend, 1st, on the line of traction; 2d, on the direction of the share; 3d, on the angle of the wing; 4th, on the form of the mould-board; and persuaded that I shall find the three first advantages eminently exemplified in that which the Society sends me, I am anxious to see combined with these a mould-board of my form, in the hope it will still advance the perfection of that machine. But for this I must ask time till I am relieved from the cares which have now a right to all my time, that is to say, till the next Spring. Then giving, in the leisure of retirement, all the time and attention this construction merits and requires, I will certainly render to the Society the result in a plough of the best form I shall be able to have executed.
In the meantime, accept for them and yourself the assurances of my high
respect and consideration.