Extract from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams

here we do little in the fine way, but in coarse & midling goods a great deal. every family in the country is a manufactory within itself, and is very generally able to make within itself all the stouter and midling stuffs for it’s own cloathing & houshold use. we consider a sheep for every person in the1 family as sufficient to clothe it, in addition to the cotton, hemp & flax which we raise ourselves. for fine stuff we shall depend on your Northern manufactures. of these, that is to say, of company establishments, we have none.2 we use little machinery. the Spinning Jenny and loom with the flying shuttle can be managed in a family; but nothing more complicated. the economy and thriftiness resulting from our3 houshold manufactures are such that they will never again be laid aside; and nothing more salutary for us has ever happened than the British obstructions to our demands for their manufactures. restore free intercourse when they will, their4 commerce with us will have totally changed it’s form, and the articles we shall in future want from them will not exceed their own consumption of our produce.

RC (MHi: Adams Papers). PoC of Tr (DLC: TJ Papers, 194:34560–1); entirely in TJ’s hand. Published in PTRJS, 4:428.
1PoC of Tr: “our.”
2PoC of Tr: “of these we have none, I mean company establishments.”
3PoC of Tr: “thriftiness attending our.”
4PoC of Tr: “she will, her.”
Date Range
January 21, 1812
Quote Category