The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

By Subject


Your position that a small farm well worked and well manned will produce more than a larger one ill-tended, is undoubtedly true in a certain degree. There are extremes in this as in all other cases. The true medium may really be considered and stated as a mathematical problem: "Given the quantum of labor within our command, and land ad libitum offering its spontaneous contributions: required the proportion in which these two elements should be employed to produce a maximum." It is a difficult problem, varying probably in every country according to the relative value of land and labor. The spontaneous energies of the earth are a gift of nature, but they require the labor of man to direct their operation. And the question is so to husband his labor. as to turn the greatest quantity of this useful action of the earth to his benefit.

to Charles W. Peale, 17 April 1813