John Clarke to Thomas Mann Randolph

Dear Sir

At our last interview, on the 21st Inst you expressed a desire that we should have a conversation upon the subject of improving the navigation of James river. Being at that time, about to leave Richmond and not having sufficient leisure for discourse, I promised that on my next visit to the City, which I expected to make in the course of the ensuing week, I would call on you. But being prevented by indisposition, from complying with that promise, as the state of my health will not admit of my leaving house, I am under the necessity of communicating1 by letter, such sentiments upon the important subject in question, as my weak Judgment affords.

In forming a plan of improvement which shall give to James river above Richmond the best navigation of which it is susceptible, we should provide for the transportation, not only of such agricultural productions of the country as are now carried down by water; but also, for, numerous other articles, inexhaustible in quantity, and of immence value; which are too massive to be carried to market in the present condition of the river, on terms that would allow a tolerable profit.—No country perhaps affords in greater abundance, Iron, lime, marble, freestone, timber, and coal, (all of the best qualities) than that which lies bordering upon & convenient to, the navigation of James river; And yet there is not one of the several kinds, of ar the articles enumerated, excepting coal; that is not brought to Richmond, either from foreign countries, or from our sister States; and sold at prices considerably below those of [. . .] brought down the river. And so far from their being subjects of export from Richmond, we find that most of the bar-iron, pig-iron, & plank; And all of the lime and marble, used in Richmond and the surrounding country; are brought from foreign countries & the northern & eastern States. There are also, weighty & bulky articles, that must be transported up the river, of which, Gypsum or the plaster of Paris is one; but the freight, by the present mode of navigation is so extravagant, that it would cost a farmer of the upper country, the value of one half of his estate to enable him to enrich the other half, by means of the plaster. And as fire-wood is becoming more & more scarce, in the vicinity of the villages seated on the river; the time is not distant, when coal, from the inexhaustible mines near Richmond, will be required to supply the Towns and manufactories that are & may be, established above.

There are only three modes of navigating the waters of James river, above tide-water, viz. 1st By improving the bed of the river. 2d By Dams & locks. & 3d By means of a continued canal or canals, through the lands contiguous to the river.

I consider it to be quite impracticable to make a good navigation in James river, by improving its bed: And if by such means the navigation could be rendered tolerable; yet as the bed of the river in those parts thereof which would require improvement, is solid rock; The blowing and removal thereof would require such immense labor; that it would, in my Judgment, cost considerably more than the building of Dams & locks.—The ineffectual efforts of the James river Company, to improve the bed of the river; during a series of near thirty years; are sufficient to satisfy us that such attempts are and would be, attended, with an useless expenditure of money.—Indeed I have understood that in many instances, they have rendered the navigation, worse than it was in its natural state; as by opening a sluice in a ledge of rocks, to admit boats to pass into the pond above the ledge; they have drawn off the pond itself, and thereby, left its bottom too shallow to be navigated. And notwithstanding the time & expense, which they have applied to the improvement of the bed of the river; even at this moment; hundreds of Tons of pig-Iron, are lodged on the shores of the river, to enable the boats to pass with the small residue of their cargoes, through shallow & narrow sluices, down the river.—Such occurrences generally take place every summer & autumn, and at a season too, when the agricultural productions of the country should be carried to market. But, even, if a tolerably good navigation could be2 effected by improving the bed of the river (which however I do not admit) we could use only such small boats as are at present employed on that river; And it is well known that the profits on many of the heavy and bulky articles above enumerated; when carried to market in such small boats; are almost wholly swallowed up by the freight. Indeed it is vain to expect any important dimunition of freights, until the river shall be put in a suitable condition to be navigated by boats of considerable burthen.—Why is it, that the freight of Iron from Philadelphia to Richmond, is only from one to two dollars per tons while the freight of that article, from Crow’s ferry or Beal’s bridge, to Richmond; is fifteen dollars per ton?—It is because large vessels carrying a considerable quantity; convey the Iron from Philadelphia to Richmond; Whilst it is only small boats freighted with small quantities, that can be navigated from Beal’s bridge to Richmond; over shoals & through innumerable ledges of rocks & sluices, often at the hazard of the cargo & the lives of the watermen. And as quarries of the best freestone lye almost on the banks of the river & within fifteen miles of the City of Richmond; let me ask why freestone of very inferior quality was brought down the Potowmac from Aquia, to build the walls of the City Hall or new Court-house at Richmond; the only edifice built of freestone in the metropolis of the State?—The answer is as before; because it was brought in large vessels, and the freight consequently less than the transportation of freestone from quarries only fifteen miles distant, in small boats, carrying only a few pieces at a load. Moreover, so great is the difficulty of navigating the river and the consequent tardy movement of the boats upon it; that a vessel of burthen, will perform two trips from Philadelphia to Richmond; before a small boat can perform one trip, from Beal’s bridge to Richmond.—Such indeed is the miserable condition of the river for navigation, after all the improvements made by the James River company; that lately; when a number of heavy pieces of Ordnance, were ordered to be sent down from the United States Arsenal, situated about ten miles above Richmond; the officer commanding at that post found, that he could at less expense, have them carried down by land, than by water: And those weighty pieces, were last month taken from the edge of the river at the Arsenal, and carried to Rocketts by land. In short, I consider all attempts to make3 a good navigation in the river, by altering the form of its bed, would be unsuccessful. And therefore dismiss that part of the subject.

The kind of improvement best adapted to give to the waters of James River above Richmond the most eligible navigation practicable, is that, which will admit of its being carried on in Boats of large burthen & with great celerity.—To employ boats of heavy burthen, a sufficient debth of water must be made by art; And the noble river in question, affords at all seasons, the greatest abundance of water for the purpose. In my Judgment, the best plan for accomplishing this object, is that which is called Slack-water-navigation, (by which is meant, a navigation carried by on by means of Dams & locks.) and that Steam-boats be used in navigating the river. The dams should be built at all the considerable falls of the river; so high only, as to produce a debth sufficient for boats drawing at least four feet water; with a lock-gate in each, for the passage of boats from one level sheet of water, to another; as they ascend & descend the river. It is not meant in this mode of navigation, that the steam-boats shall be laden with the commodities carried to market; but that they shall trail or tow, after them; several flat-bottomed boats laden with the products of the country.—This is the mode of improvement adopted for the navigation of the river Schuylkil in Pensylvania; which at this time is in such progress, that within eighteen months, it is expected; the Steam-boats will be carried up that river more than an hundred miles above Philadelphia.—The power & expedition with which steam-boats move, point them out as the most proper kind of tow boats that can be used, and render them capable of affording vastly important assistance to internal navigation. As a proof of which, the Columbus 74 Gun ship was lately towed down the Potowmac from the Navy yard at Washington, to St Mary’s near the mouth of that river, by a steam-boat. And a Frigate, with her full complement of men, Guns, & stores, was towed down Elizabeth river from the Navy yard at Gosport, to Hampton-roads, by a steam-boat; without any perceptible difference in her usual progress on the water. This is sufficient to convince us, that steam-boats of smaller force & capacity than those now in general use, might, at a single trip, tow, to market, more of the products of our country, than would be sufficient to load a merchant ship. And if this system of navigation shall be carried into effect, the freights would be very inconsiderable; And many of the productions of the country which are now unprofitable, would become extremely valuable.

It is not intended that the Dams in which the lock-gates are to be placed, shall extend across the river at any of the falls where they may be erected; except in cases where it shall be rendered necessary, in order to procure a sufficient debth of water for navigation above such dams. But where there is considerable fall in the bed of the river, in a short distance; wing-dams would be resorted to; such as are contemplated by the laws respecting Mill Dams built on the edges of rivers, to embrace part of the current and apply it to the operation of Mills. A wing-dam, is simply a wall built at right angles from the shore, and extending a few yards into the river; and forming a right angle there; runs up the acclivous bed of the river, parallel with the shore, to such distance as may be required to give the desired debth, or fall of water. To explain this matter more fully, let us suppose that we wished, by locks, to carry steam-boats from the tide water at Richmond, up the great fallls, to Westham; In that distance, the fall of the river is about 97 feet; which would require 16 locks, of 6 feet each; but instead of locks whose foundations require much labor, suppose we have recourse to Dams; it would not in that case, be necessary to build 16 Dams across the whole current of the river. It would only be requisite to build 16 wing dams, to embrace a part of the current; which dams shoud be so high only, as to contain water sufficient to float the boat; And by filling the reservoir formed by the first or lowest wing dam with water; the boat would be elevated so high at to enable it to pass through the gate in the second wing Dam; Then by shutting the gate below & opening that above; The water in the reservoir of the second wing dam, would elevate the boat so high as to enable it to pass through the gate & into the reservoir of the third wing dam, &c.—the reservoir of each wing dam, forming, as it were, the chamber of a lock.—And it is a fortunate circumstance that the Dams which may be required for the navigation of the river, would be situated at the falls, in the immediate vicinity of the greatest abundance of stone, which may readily be carried by water, to the spot where it would be used.

We know, that in many parts of Europe, navigable canals of great length, have been cut, for the purposes of commerce, & of traveling; in which; the boats are drawn by horses; And that great benefit has been derived from that mode of navigation. But we likewise know, that notwithstanding the great disparity in point of population; the arts most useful to man; have latterly made greater progress in the United States; than in all the countries of Europe together. We also know, that many of the arts, and improvements invented in the United States, have been adopted and are now advantageously carried on in Europe. Among which is, the art of propelling boats by steam; which indeed has produced an important era in the annals of navigation. And as steam is the most cheap & powerful agent that can be applied to such purposes; we shall probably soon find that steam-boats will be used for the internal navigation of the countries of Europe. Especially when we consider, that a small boat, carrying but a small quantity, & drawn by horses, will travel only twenty five miles per day; Wheras a boat propelled by steam, will carry in its trail, other boats, laden with hundreds of tons; & will generally travel, from eighty to an hundred & fifty miles in the same time.

The long canal lately commenced in the State of New York, is calculated to be an important work; which does great credit to the enterprise of those engaged in the undertaking, And through the medium of the public prints & of public rumour; it has acquired such celebrity; that many persons imagine the method adopted for navigating that canal, viz. by horse power; is the most eligible mode of carrying on internal navigation generally. But in contemplating the magnitude of the undertaking, they seem to forget, that the method adopted there, is no other than that which has so long been in practice, in the canals of Europe. They also forget, that the great length to which that canal must be extended, to attain the object in view; prevents them from obtaining any better kind of navigation: Because, to cut so long a canal; of sufficient breadth & debth to admit of its being navigated by steam-boats; would cost a sum too enormous to be commanded; And they were therefore under the necessity of adopting the slow, & only, mode of navigation that they could carry into effect.—But if a river, such for example, as the James, had have ran where the trace of their canal now lies, I doubt not but that they would have fallen upon the plan adopted in Pensylvania, for navigating the schuylkil, viz. by Dams, locks, & steam-boats.

It is, perhaps, owing to the present celebrity of the New York canal, that many men of good information, have become advocates for a canal through the lands contiguous to James river, to extend from Dunlaps creek, to Richmond;—perhaps without adverting to the difference in the locality of the two scenes of operation.—I have made no survey of the river by which I could enable myself4 to ascertain the amount of expense that would be requisite for improving its navigation in any mode whatever; Nor do I think, that an estimate, of even tolerable accuracy, can be formed, by making a superficial survey. However in a work so highly important; It is sufficient that we know it to be practicable, And that we possess the means by which it may be accomplished. But as some difference of opinion exists, as to the mode of improvement; let us endeavour to ascertain from the best data we possess; which it is: that will probably be attended with the greatest utility & least expense; A navigation by Dams & locks; Or a navigation by continued canal.

By improving the navigation on the plan of Dams & locks; the bed of the river would be converted into ponds, of only sufficient debth, to be navigated by boats drawing about four feet water: And the expense of erecting such Dams, would be no object in a great public work which promises incalculable advantages. Indeed I feel confident, if the Government would grant it; that many individuals would gladly embrace the priviledge of building such dams in James River, for the purpose of operating Mills by water; The government however, should not rely on that mode of getting the Dams erected: I merely mention the circumstance to shew, that individual enterprise would not hesitate to make such improvements. As the whole cost; by this mode of improvement would consist in the expense of building the Dams, & the locks; And as there must be as many locks in the continued canal; As there would be in the Dams: (the perpendicular descent from Dunlap’s creek, to the basin in Richmond being the same in either case.) And as the cost of the locks in either case would be the same; let us therefore leave the locks out of the present calculation, and endeavour to form some Judgment of the difference, between the expense of building the Dams: And the expense of digging the continued canal.

Having no means at present, of acquiring information, as to the whole fall of the river from Dunlap’s creek, to the basin in Richmond, I cannot say what the fall really is; But supposing it not to exceed nine hundred feet, and assuming that as a datum on which to calculate the number of Dams necessary to ascend the whole fall, I find; that 150 Dams 6 feet high each, would be the number required. But, as many of these, would be wing-dams; which would not extend across the river & consequently not require so much expense. Yet, to make a liberal allowance; say they shall all extend across the river; and that the average breadth of the river between Richmond, & Dunlap’s creek, shall be 150 yards. we shall then find that the length of all the dams together would not exceed thirteen miles.—The Dams should be built of stone, without timber; the stones to be packed in the wall, in the manner of building stone fences, & without cement; as the alluvion or sediment, of the river, would soon fill the interstices of the stone work, and render the whole mass, solid and durable. The Dams should be rounding on the top, and the upper, as well as the lower, sides thereof should slope at an angle of about forty five degrees.

—The building of Stone Dams, may, in Virginia be thought a vastly expensive kind of work; but in the Eastern States, where every farm is surrounded & partitioned by stone walls; Such Dams would not be regarded as objects of great difficulty or expense.—I have often heard it remarked, in Rhode Island, that if all the stone fences in that little State, could be placed in a direct line; they would extend from the province of Maine to Georgia. And can it be imagined that such stone Dams as I have suggested; the whole of which together, making not more than 13 miles in length; built at the different falls of the river, in the immediate vicinity of abundance of stone; Would cost as much; as digging a canal, between two and three hundred miles in length; a considerable portion of which, must be cut through rock: with its walls; road on its margin for the horses which draw the boats; And numerous Bridges that much necessarily cross it in so great a distance.—I can form no correct Idea of the cost of such a canal & its appendages; but if we take the cost of cutting the three or four miles of the James river canal near Richmond as the basis on which to found an estimate, we shall find the expense would greatly exceed our resources.—To me it is much more simple & easy, to form an idea of the expense that would be required for the Dams & locks; Than of the expense that would be required for the Canal; its locks; & all its other appendages. And although I cannot determine what sum would be required for either of the two kinds of improvement; Yet in my mind there appears to be a vast difference, in favor of the Dams & locks.—Hitherto we have only endeavoured to draw a comparison between the expense of the Dams & locks; And the expense of the continued canal with its walls, Road, Bridges, & more than an hundred locks that must be built therein to enable boats to ascend & descend, in navigating the canal, from the upper country to Richmond. But beside all these expenses; there are other weighty Items to be added. The inhabitants of the country on the side of the river opposite to the continued canal, must have the privilege of participating in the benefit of its navigation, & consequently an additional number of locks must be built [. . .] to enable them to ascend with their boats into it; which perhaps would require almost as many locks, as the continued canal itself would require. And as the continued canal in many parts thereof must necessarily run a considerable distance from the river, in order to preserve its level; many canals must be cut, at right angles with the river, & through plantations; to enable the inhabitants of the opposite side of the river, to pass with their boats into the main canal. Which additional locks and transverse canals, must be made; or the people on the opposite side of the river cannot enjoy the benefit of the main canal; And the cost thereof must amount to a heavy sum which cannot now be estimated. Moreover, what estimate can now be made, of the amount of damages that would be assessed by Juries, to indemnify the owners of the most valuable plantations extending between two & three hundred miles on James river; for digging canals through them? For these & for many other reasons; any estimate that can now be made of the expense to be incurred, must depend upon a basis that is merely conjectural.—Endeavour therefore to form an idea, even upon conjecture; of all the expenses; and then decide, which in your Judgment would probably be attended with the greatest cost; The improvement by a continued canal with all its appendages; Or, the improvement by Dams & locks.

But suppose for a moment, that the expense of each mode of improvement was equal: The boats for navigating the continued canal must still be small; and would consequently carry burthens so small, and move so slowly; that no great dimunition in the freights could be expected; As the horses drawing the boat after them and travelling at the usual rate of twenty five miles per day, would require twenty days to perform a trip, (say) 250 miles, & return. Whereas, a steam-boat would tow a burthen sufficient to load a large merchant ship; which would thereby be the means of reducing the freight to a mere trifle; And would perform a similar trip and return, in one week. Moreover, let us consider the superior advantage that would result from the employment of steam-boats in the navigation of James river; If the contemplated communication between the western waters, and the Atlantic; through the heart of Virginia; shall be carried into effect.

As the whole of the Atlantic States, are dependant for Coal, upon mines situated a short distance above Richmond; And as the demand for that article, must increase, not only in proportion to the increase of population, but also in proportion to the decrease of fire-wood: The Coal trade must be regarded as an object of great interest to Virginia: as by that trade she may be enabled to draw great emolument from the other States. But although the mines are convenient to the navigation of the river; the difficulty and expense which attend the transportation of Coal, to Rocketts; for exportation, [. . .] are so great; and absorb so large a portion of the profits; that many men are detered from engaging in that business.—It is only in such boats as are commonly used in James river, that coal is now carried to market by water; In a flush current of the river, they carry from 200 to 250 bushels; but in summer & autumn, when the current is low, they do not generally carry more than from 100 to 120 bushels. Which is very little more than is usually carried to Manchester in one waggon with a six horse team. And those Colliers who now carry on the business more extensively than others; altho’ their mines are quite convenient to the river; transport their coals to market in waggons, at the cost of ten or twelve cents per bushel; rather than trust to the present precarious and tardy method, of transporting it to market in boats which carry such small quantities. And for want of a good navigation, the Coal business will continue to linger, under that load of expense, which attends its transportation a few miles to tide water; And by reason of which; the colliers of Europe are enable to undersell those of the United States in our own markets.—But should a complete system of navigation for large boats be established; Those inexhaustible mines of Coal; would bring immence wealth into the State. Being perfectly acquainted with the locality of the river, from the vicinity of the Coal-mines, to Richmond; I am convinced that5 such a navigation can be accomplished in a short time, at an expense quite inconsiderable when compared with the magnitude of the object; And which; would soon be reimbursed, by the profits arising from toll, for the use of the improvement.

At a ledge of rocks extending quite across the river (eight or nine miles above Richmond & two or three miles below the coal-mines,) which may be considered as the head of the great falls; a Dam may be built with greater convenience & perhaps at less expense; than at any other place within several miles of it. It is there I think; that a Dam should be built across the river; for the purpose of giving to the water greater debth above; and, to divert it from the river, into a canal; which should be taken out there, and carried down on the north side of the river, until it arrives at the upper end of the present James river canal; with which, it should be made to communicate by locks. This canal as well as the James river canal, should be made sufficiently deep to be navigated by large boats drawing four feet water; And so wide as to admit such boats to pass each other when they meet.—When this improvement shall have been accomplished, that valuable branch of commerce will flourish; Many men who will not now employ their capital in that business, would then become colliers; And instead of being obliged to send their coal to Richmond, in boats which carry only 120 bushels, they might send it down by steam-boats, trailing after them large flat bottomed boats, carrying thousands of bushels at a trip. The freight would then amount to very little more than the toll of the canals & locks; which would enable our colliers to sell their coal so at a price so low; that the European coal could not then, as it does now; find a sale in our markets. Thus would a traffic be defeated, by which Great Britain annually draws large sums from the United States, in exchange for an article which we ourselves, possess in exhaustless abundance; within a dozen miles of tide water.

The scheme here suggested in relation to the coal trade, is the best I think, that can be adopted for the improvement of that part of the river containing the great falls & lying between the coal-mines, and tide-water. And in my Judgment, it is the first work that should be commenced, in making the general improvement of the river. Because the navigation of this small part of the river, is attended with more difficulty & danger, than all the other parts beside; as more boats have been wrecked, and more lives & property lost, between Westham, & Richmond; than between Westham, and the heads of the river. Moreover, this portion of the river, as it lies nearer to Richmond and will be more used, than any other part above it; the profits arising from the tolls, would sooner reimburse the expense of making this important improvement. And as this work consists of a Dam, and also of a canal; by the completion of this small part of the general improvement, we shall be enabled to decide which will be greatest; The expense of building the Dams in the river above, for the general navigation by Dams & locks; Or, The expense of a continued canal with all its appendages, from Dunlap’s creek to Richmond. And when the part in question shall have been completed; if the Dam & lock plan, shall be adopted; The necessary Dams & locks, may then be built in the river, above, in succession; Or if the plan for a general navigation by a continued canal, shall be adopted; such continued canal from the upper country may communicate by locks, with the canal from the coal-mines, at the upper end thereof. And before the said improvement below the coal-mines, would probably be made; the work now in execution for navigating the Schuylkil, by means of Dams & locks; will have been completed; which will test the efficacy of that mode of navigation.

Those who imagine that James river above Richmond cannot be put in a condition to be navigated by vessels so large as steam-boats, should consider; that a sufficient debth of water is all that is required; and that Dams will produce a sufficient debth of water. They should likewise consider, that steam-boats are of various constructions, and of all sizes; from, such as draw five & an half feet water; to those that draw only twenty Inches.—The construction & size best adopted to the navigation of James river, must be determined by the manner in which the river shall be improved. Steam boats afford the most expeditious, cheap, and comfortable, mode of travelling; and in relation to commerce, the benefit to be derived from their application to internal navigation; will be inconceiveably great.—Who, twenty five years ago, could have imagined, that the navigation & commerce of the western States; would mainly depend upon the agency or action of steam?—And yet within the short space of time that has succeeded that period, we find numerous large vessels propelled by steam, navigating the vast River Missisippi and its extensive branches, many hundreds of miles from the ocean. And that commerce must continue dependant upon a navigation by steam; as no other vessels than steam-boats; can stem the current in those rivers; so as to carry on a profitable commerce. But as steam-navigation is yet in its infancy, and we only begin to understand and appreciate its advantages; and as the commerce of the most fertile portion of North America depends upon it: We may expect many important improvements will be made in that species of navigation.

The funds that may be drawn to the improvement of James river, would, I presume, be amply sufficient for the purpose. But at the commencement of a work of such magnitude & importance; we should, before we decide on the mode of improvement; deeply consider, which of those that are practicable, would produce the most complete & effectual navigation.—But, in carrying on the work upon any plan of general improvement that may be adopted; I think, that the small portion of the river lying between the Coal-mines, & tide water, (comprising the great falls,) should be first improved; in the manner I have suggested. Which would not only produce the best navigation for large, as well as small, boats; from the upper country: but would be well adapted to the Coal trade, and also, well adapted to any plan that can be selected, for improving the general navigation above. And before this comparatively small improvement would probably be made; much light may be thrown upon the subject; as the navigation of the New York canal will by that time be got into partial operation, upon one of the plans contemplated for the navigation of the waters of James river; And, as the navigation of the schuylkil, upon the other plan contemplated, will probably have been carried into effect. We might therefore, by the time the improvement shall have been made between the coal-mines, & tide-water; be completely able to decide which of the two modes of navigation, is entitled to a preference.

In conclusion permit me to remark; that if the basin in Richmond & the canal leading into it, were not already formed, I would have recommended that the canal, taken out of the river where I suggested; Should be carried on a level the whole distance to Richmond: in which case, no locks would have been required. But as the canal & basin, are already made. I deem it proper that they should be used, in connection with the canal I propose. Boats must therefore be under the necessity of passing through locks, between the coal-mines & Richmond. But if it shall be decided that the plan of a continued cana, from Dunlap’s creek, to Richmond, shall be adopted; the surface of the water in such continued canal, opposite to the Coal-mines, must necessarily be, 15 or 20 feet higher than the surface of the river at the coal-mines; Consequently large & expensive locks must be built, to enable the Boats from the river to ascend into the continued canal. And in the short distance between the coal-mines, & Richmond, the boats must pass that additional set of locks; which would require a great additional expense, that would be worse than useless; because it would create an additional impediment to the navigation. For if the canal I propose, shall be cut; (which requires no such locks,) the boats in the continued canal, (I repeat,) may easily descend into it by locks, which would require no additional expense; as they must necessarily make that descent by locks, at some place or other, before they could get to Richmond. And if the expense of building the locks in question, should be added to the expense that would have been required for cutting the continued canal itself through the same ground that would be occupied by the canal I propose; the amount would perhaps be as great; as that of the expense that would be required to cut the canal I propose, of the breadth & debth which I have recommended.

I tender you my congratulations on the prospect of an improved navigation. And as the funds for the purpose may now be commanded, and as a considerable portion of the work may be executed in the present year; May we not indulge a hope, that this improvement, so much & so immediately required; And so long & so unnecessarily delayed. Will be commenced in the course of the ensuing spring.

Very respectfully I am Dr Sir Yr Obt Servt
Jno Clarke
RC (ViU: JHC); at head of text “private”; at foot of text: “His Excellency Thomas M Randolph Governor of Virginia”; endorsed by Randolph: “Jno clarke. recd Febry 1820.”
1Manuscript: “com-communicating.”
2Manuscript: “by.”
3Manuscript: “made.”
4Manuscript: “mysel.”
5Manuscript: “that that.”
John Clarke
Date Range
January 28, 1820