Monday, April 19, 2010

april 19, 1810 (thurs.)

What a mess. Last year, Mr. Jefferson prepaid for a copy of Philip Freneau's new book, Poems Written and Published During the American Revolutionary War. There was a mix-up, and Lydia Bailey, the printer, thought he'd ordered eleven copies. It's being worked out, but it shows that mail-order transactions can go awry even in the 19th century.

The other theme in the last couple of days has been food. They're running low on salad oil at Monticello -- "a necessity of life here." (They -- especially Mr. Jefferson -- do like salad around here.) So Mr. Jefferson has written to see if his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, can get some in Richmond. And he sent detailed instructions as to how to pack it so the bottles won't break.

Mr. Jefferson is very much interested in alternate crops and in trying a wide variety of foods. He's sent Henry Skipworth some millet seed, along with instructions on how to plant it and prepare it.-- "to be used at the table as homony, boiled or fried." He probably means as hominy grits, since the consistency is closer to that than to whole hominy. He says it takes two hours to cook. In the 21st century it usually takes about half an hour. Either the 19th century grain is a lot denser, or he likes it really mushy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

april 16, 1810 (mon.)

Mr. Jefferson is back at Monticello, catching up with his correspondence. In one package is a copy of Samuel H. Saunders' new reading book for children. Although the opening of the University of Virginia is years in the future, Mr. Jefferson already has a reputation for his interest in, and plans for, education.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

april 13, 1810 (fri.)

Thomas Jefferson is on the road back to Monticello from Poplar Forest. He turns 67 years old today. He'd rather nobody made a big fuss about it, though. He thinks the only birthday worth celebrating is that of the United States on July 4th.