Oct 27, 2022 - Sale 2619

Sale 2619 - Lot 17

Price Realized: $ 750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 250 - $ 350
GOVERNOR AND AMATEUR METEOROLOGIST WOLCOTT, OLIVER; JR. Autograph Letter Signed, "Oliv: Wolcott," as Governor, to "My dear Sir," apologizing for not having replied sooner to his letters, reporting that he has planted the barilla seeds, asking whether the wheat should be planted in the spring, and discussing at length his views on wind currents and the effect of deforestation on climate, especially temperature. 2 1/4 pages, tall 4to, written on a folded sheet; most of second leaf torn away with loss to address panel (not affecting signature or letter text), second leaf nearly detached, short closed separations at folds, small holes at fold intersections with loss of a few letters of text, minor loss to first leaf at lower corners and small area at one edge with loss of few words of text, docketed on terminal page. Litchfield, CT, 23 January 1822

Additional Details

". . . I made a fair experiment with the Barilla Seed, but it wholly failed; the climate on these mountains being too cold and wet. The place most suitable, I conjecture, would be in Tennessee on the South line of the Cumberland Mountains.
"The . . . Wheat came too late to be sowed last Fall; I will try a part of it next Spring, if as I hope it is a Summer Grain, of which please to inform me; otherwise I shall keep it carefully till next autumn.
"I observe your Meteorological notices with much pleasure: Though we cannot govern the winds, we may ascertain the laws by which they are governed, and by this knowledge we may usefully regulate our conduct. I have thought it probable, that by the destruction of our Forests & the settlement of the Country, the different parts of the United States will be reduced much nearer an equality of temperature, than they . . . are at present. That the Southern States are becoming cooler in Winter is I think certain. The cultivated Tracts are now protected by Forests from eighty to one hundred feet in height; when they are destroyed the currents of Wind will sweep the surface of the Earth. These currents travel at the rate of from sixty to one hundred miles an hour. I observe that when our cold is at zero, with a wind from North to North West, the observations at Washington exhibit the same degree on the same day. This morning . . . the cold was 12° below zero, with the wind at North West. If the wind had been due North I should feel almost certain, that the same degree prevailed at Washington. The general cause of the state of our Climate depends as I apprehend on this. The tropical current from East to West is arrested by the Cordilleras & the great Western Chain, ending in the Rocky Mountains & directed Northward: the recoil of this Current is up the Mississippi & eastward, by our great Rivers to the Lakes & down the St. Lawrence. That part of this Current which flows up the Ohio and its Branches is warm & mild and is the cause of their mild Winters, but when the current is down, from the Lakes & especially when it is from Lower Canada, the Southern States soon feel the extremes of Cold, which will become more perceptible and affect their cultivation as their Forests are reduced. We perceive this effect in Connecticut, where vegetation is not so early as it was formerly & not more early than in Vermont. The difference between Connecticut & Pennsylvania on open Grounds is much less considerable than is commonly supposed and less than it was formerly. Evaporation is a power[ful] cause of cold & at a distance from the [Great?] Lakes serves to equalize the temperature . . . ."