To Thomas Mann Randolph Bennington, in Vermont, June 5, 1791
-- Mr. Madison & myself are so far on the tour we had projected. We have visited in the course of it the principal scenes of Genl. Burgoyne's misfortunes to wit the grounds at Stillwater where the action of that name was fought, & particularly the breastworks which cost so much blood to both parties, the encampments at Saratoga & ground where the British piled their arms, the field of the battle of Bennington about 9 miles from this place. We have also visited Forts Wm. Henry & George, Ticonderoga, Crown point, &c. which have been scenes of blood from a very early part of our history. We were more pleased however with the botanical objects which continually presented themselves. Those either unknown or rare in Virgna were the Sugar maple in vast abundance, the Silver fir, White pine, Pitch pine, Spruce pine, a shrub with decumbent stems which they call Juniper, an azalea very different from the nudiflora, with very large clusters of flowers, more thickly set on the branches, of a deeper red, & high pink-fragrance. It is the richest shrub I have seen. The honeysuckle of the gardens growing wild on the banks' of L. George, the paper-birch, an Aspen with a velvet leaf, a shrub-willow with downy catkins, a wild gooseberry, the wild cherry with single fruit (not the bunch cherry) strawberries in abundance. From the Highlands to the lakes it is a limestone country. It is in vast quantities on the Eastern sides of the lakes, but none on the Western sides. The Sandy hill falls & Wing's falls, two very remarkable cataracts of the Hudson of about 35 f. or 40 f. each between F. Edward & F. George are of limestone, in horizontal strata. Those of the Cohoes, on the W. side of the Hudson, & of 70 f. height, we thought not of limestone. We have met with a small red squirrel of the color of our fox-squirrel, with a black stripe on each side, weighing about 6 oz. generally, and in such abundance on L. Champlain particularly as that twenty odd were killed at the house we lodged in opposite Crown point the morning we arrived there, without going 10 yards from the door. We killed 3 crossing the lakes, one of them just as he was getting ashore where it was 3 miles wide, & where with the high wind then blowing he must have made it 5 or 6 miles.
I think I asked the favr. of you to send for Anthony in the season for inoculn, as well as to do what is necessary in the orchard, as to pursue the object of inoculating all the Spontaneous cherry trees in the fields with good fruit.
We have now got over about 400 miles of our tour and have still about 450 more to go over. Arriving here on the Saturday evening, and the laws of the state not permitting us to travel on the Sunday, has given me time to write to you from hence. I expect to be at Philadelphia by the 20th or 21st. I am, with great & sincere esteem Dear Sir