Naturalists requests specimens from collectors; gives opinion on President Jackson's banking fiasco


Date Written

March 8, 1834

Jared Potter Kirtland was 40 years old when this was written.
Jared Potter Kirtland died 43 years, 9 months, 2 days after writing it.
It was written 189 years, 6 months, 25 days ago.
It was a Saturday.

Poland, Trumbull County, Ohio,
March 8, 1834

Respected friends,

I rec’d a Middletown paper a day or two since, on the margin of which was an indorsement by Sophiona informing me that you had located yourselves in Kaskaskia and that you failed to receive a communication I forwarded to you from Durham a year since.

I have little news to write, our friends are all well, business dull and the times truly hard for people in business. We have long heard distress abroad but we now feel it in reality. All of our banks have stopped discounting, produce is nominally little more than nothing and will not fetch cash even at that price. Every business is at a full stand. What will be the end of Jackson’s mad experiment I know not, men of scale and information condemn, but the rabble will still worship Juggernaut.

Mary is married and lives at Warren, our county seat, 20 miles from me. She spent some days with us in Feby. She has a son 7 mos. Old.

As to my hobby—Edward knows that when at “the eastward a year since I was riding full tilt upon mineralogy & conchology. Since then the paroxysm has not in the least abated. I addressed a little to you, from Durham, requesting you to collect for me, certain specimens, but I learn you did not receive it—A neighbor of mine, being about to visit St. Louis will pass by your location and may possibly stop there. I have concluded to renew my request to you, to collect for me specimens of minerals and shells. I wish to obtain—

1st All the interesting mineralogical specimens your vicinity affords. You may expect to meet with perhaps lead, agates, chalcedony, carnelian, jasper, quartz, fluorspar, petrifactions, (particularly of marine shells) and volcanic productions floating down the Missouri. Edward is so well acquainted with this [?] that he would know what would be interesting.

2nd All the species and varieties of fresh water & land shales with which you may meet—the sand bars and ripples in the upper Mississippi and its tributaries, contain immense numbers of what, in common language, is called fresh water muscles; some species are large, some small, some round, some long etc. They are distinguished by form, colour, thickness etc. I am anxious to obtain a few of every size, colour, form & variety that can be found about you. Those are only valuable that are caught with the living animal in them, as the luster is tarnished in those in which the animal dies. They are usually found, more or less, buried in the sand, and some lie so deep, that there is some considerable act in finding them. They should be opened with a shoe knife & the flesh taken out & then packed like crockery, one within another, with small bits of paper intervening & they finally should be placed securely in a box surrounded with sawdust or refuse cotton. Endeavour to select the most perfect specimens of each kind, but none of the kinds should be omitted on account of looking black, dirty or ill formed, because a conchologist will many times discern beauties, that are not evident to the unskilled eye---Will you engage to put me up a box of shells & minerals? They may be directed to me to the care [?] of Bailey & Co. Pittsburgh, Stone & Bailey Beaver Point, or, if more convenient, they may be sent to the care of Bostwick & Taylor, Pearl St., New York.

My collection is now extensive. I have recently received a present [from?] Mr. Lea [Isaac Lea] & box of shells & his new & splendid work on fossil shells—also a box from Mr. Hyde of Phil. & Mr. Taylor of New York.

I hope you will not fail to examine some shoal water in summer & collect every kind with which you may meet, I also wish to procure every variety of snail shell. Any favor of this kind you will favor me with, I will reciprocate with pleasure, in case an opportunity should permit.

Please to remember me to Mrs. Camp. Will you not find it convenient to visit us at some future point.

Very respectfully yours,
Jared P. Kirtland

Mrs. Henry & Edw Camp

N.B. Be sure to collect all the shells with [?] surfaces of any kind, large & small.

Mr. Stoddard failed to take the contemplated journey and I have forwd this by Lyman Foot, M. D. of the U. S. Army who is stationed at Jefferson Barracks and whom I hope you will not fail to see. He is from Wallingford.

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