Volume I : page 323
Chapter VII

. . . agriculture, the employment of our first parents in Eden, the happiest we can follow, and the most important to our country.
letter from Thomas Jefferson to judge william johnson, may 10, 1817.
William Johnson was born in 1771 in Charleston, S. C., and died in Brooklyn in 1834. As a jurist he opposed Jefferson’s Embargo laws, but remained on friendly terms with him, and in 1826 published an Eulogy on Thomas Jefferson. Johnson was a member of the American Philosophical Society.
Cato, Varro Columella, et Palladius de re rustica. p. 8 vo.
1815 Catalogue, page 31. no. 1, as above.
Rei rvsticæ avctores latini veteres, M. Cato. M. Varro, L. Colvmella, Palladivs: priores tres, e vetustiss. editionibus; quartus, e veteribus membranis aliquammultis in locis emendatiores: cum tribus indicibus, capitum, auctorum, & rerum ac verborum memorabilium. Criticorum & expositorum in eosdem atque Geoponicos Græcos notationes seorsum dabuntur . . . [ Heidelbergæ:] ex Hier. Commelini typographio, 1595.
8vo. 400 leaves, diagrams; no copy was seen for collation.
This edition not in Brunet.
Graesse VI, page 331.
Jefferson showed an acquaintance with this work in his letter to George W. Jeffreys, written on March 3, 1817, on the subject of an agricultural library for the new University: “ . . . the agriculture of France and Italy is good, and has been better than at this time; the former in the age of De Serres [q.v.] , the latter in the time of Cato, Varro &c . . .
This work was on the list of agricultural books supplied by Jefferson to Wilson Cary Nicholas in December 1809, recommended for purchase for the Library of Congress.
The first edition of this collection was printed by Jenson in 1472, and editions from that date were numerous. The Tables for Commelin’s edition were by Frideric Sylburg [see no. 48]; the critical notes and the Geoponica were not printed.
Wilson Cary Nicholas, 1761-1820, Virginia Congressman, United States Senator, and Governor of Virginia. A close friend of Jefferson, Nicholas consulted him on the books on agriculture to be purchased for the Library of Congress. His bankruptcy and death caused him to default on a twenty-thousand-dollar note signed by himself and Jefferson, resulting in the bankruptcy of the latter. His daughter was the wife of Thomas Jefferson Randolph, Jefferson’s grandson.
Geoponica Bassi. Gr. Lat. 2. v. 8 vo. Niclas. Lipsiae. 1781.
This book is entered in the Index of the Library of Congress 1815 Catalogue, with reference to chapter 7, where however it is not to be found.
A copy of this edition was ordered by Jefferson from Dufief on March 23, 1802.
It is the first book on Jefferson’s catalogue of books sent to W. C. Nicholas on December 16, 1809, recommended for purchase for the Library of Congress. Jefferson’s description reads: “ Geoponica Cassiani Bassi. Gr. & Lat. there have never been but 2. editions published, one by Needham at Cambridge in 1704. 8 vo. the other by Niclas, at Leipsick in 1781. 2. v. 8 vo. I do not believe it has ever been translated into any modern language. it gives the state of Agriculture in Greece in the time of Constantine Porphyrogeneta to whom it has been ascribed. the age & country make it curious, & worthy a place in the library of Congress.
It is probable that this book was never received by Congress after the sale. Jefferson wrote in a letter to Samuel H. Smith, dated from Monticello October 29, 1814, during the negotiations for the sale: The collection has not been revised since my return from Europe. during my absence from home it has been open to limited uses, and I have occasionally found books missing. some of these may only be misplaced, but some are probably lost. I should mention that there are two entered in the catalogue which I do not possess, but meaning to import them immediately, I entered them while writing the catalogues; the war however supervening prevented my importing them. these are the Geoponics, Gr. Lat. & an English translation of them lately published.
Volume I : page 323
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