Great Barrington 29 April 1817--
I have been several times on the eve of writing to you since I visited Hampshire 1 and am a little ashamed that I have no better excuse than that of indolence for neglecting it. I enclose you a ten dollar bill which I wish you would take the trouble to forward to Dr. Porter and get endorsed on the note he holds against me. 2 I have an agricultural question to submit to you. Whether Plaister of Paris would not be a good manure for your Cummington soil. I have been induced to think on this subject by observing the immense advantages which attend its use here where there is a plaister-mill, and where the farmers scatter it on their grounds as regularly as the manure of their barn-yards. In cold wet lands it is said to be of little or no benefit but dry sterile hungry soils overgrown with five-finger and other rigid worthless plants have been rendered fertile by its use and now produce fine crops of clover and other grasses. It is spread on the surface of the soil in ploughed lands immediately after the seeds are committed to the earth;--on pastures at any time of the year. It is usual to allow a bushel to the acre, but many are of opinion that a much smaller quantity a peck for instance--if evenly distributed over the ground would be of equal advantage. 3
My business goes on at the old rate. I have been well since I saw Hampshire except another little touch of the pleurisy--which went off with a little blood from the arm-- I write with a lame hand which must be my apology for not writing more and for writing so illegibly-- Remember me to the family and all my friends-- I should be happy to hear from you--
Your affectionate Son
W C BRYANT
MANUSCRIPTS: NYPL-GR (draft and final) ADDRESS: Dr. Peter Bryant / Cummington.