To Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse Washington, December 1, 1808SIR,
-- In answer to the inquiries of the benevolent Dr. De Carro on the subject of the upland or mountain rice, Oryza Mutica, I will state to you what I know of it. I first became informed of the existence of a rice which would grow in uplands without any more water than the common rains, by reading a book of Mr. De Porpre, who had been Governor of the Isle of France, who mentions it as growing there and all along the coast of Africa successfully, and as having been introduced from Cochin-China. I was at that time (1784-89) in France, and there happening to be there a Prince of Cochin-China, on his travels, and then returning home, I obtained his promise to send me some. I never received it however, and mention it only as it may have been sent, and furnished the ground for the inquiries of Dr. De Carro, respecting my receiving it from China. When at Havre on my return from France, I found there Captain Nathaniel Cutting, who was the ensuing spring to go on a voyage along the coast of Africa. I engaged him to inquire for this; he was there just after the harvest, procured and sent me a thirty-gallon cask of it. It arrived in time the ensuing spring to be sown. I divided it between the Agricultural Society of Charleston and some private gentlemen of Georgia, recommending it to their care, in the hope which had induced me to endeavor to obtain it, that if it answered as well as the swamp rice, it might rid them of that source of their summer diseases. Nothing came of the trials in South Carolina, but being carried into the upper hilly parts of Georgia, it succeeded there perfectly, has spread over the country, and is now commonly cultivated; still, however, for family use chiefly, as they cannot make it for sale in competition with the rice of the swamps. The former part of these details is written from memory, the papers being at Monticello which would enable me to particularize exactly the dates of times and places. The latter part is from the late Mr. Baldwin, one of those whom I engaged in the distribution of the seed in Georgia, and who in his annual attendance on Congress, gave me from time to time the history of its progress. It has got from Georgia into Kentucky, where it is cultivated by many individuals for family use. I cultivated it two or three years at Monticello, and had good crops, as did my neighbors, but not having conveniences for husking it, we declined it. I tried some of it in a pot, while I lived in Philadelphia, and gave seed to Mr. Bartram. It produced luxuriant plants with us both, but no seed; nor do I believe it will ripen in the United States as far north as Philadelphia. Business and an indisposition of some days must apologize for this delay in answering your letter of October 24th, which I did not receive till the 6th of November.
And permit me here to add my salutations and assurances of
esteem and respect.