Report from the Secretary of the Treasury... in relation to grants of land made to French emigrants, to encourage the cultivation of the vine and olive.
20th Congress, 1st Session.Washington : 1827 Stock Code: 116911
NotesAn important historical document regarding viticulture practices and the early wine industry in America. It concerns the progress of Alabama's Vine and Olive Colony, named thus after the land agreement made between the US Congress and refugee settlers in 1817 (some, but certainly not all, of whom were French). Attracted by the prospect of establishing a domestic winemaking industry to combat their reliance on imported European wines, Congress granted 92,000 acres of land to the settlers, with the proviso that the land be eventually used for cultivating grapes and olives. Efforts to grow them, however, were ultimately unsuccessful; the soil and weather conditions were unsuited to either crop, and the settlers were both inexperienced and plagued with disease. In 1827 a petition was made by the remaining refugees asking for the terms of the original agreement to be relaxed - thus prompting this congressional report. Frederick Ravesies, representing the community, argued that "Your Excellency is well aware how many years, nay centuries, Europe has required to obtain this experience and perfection. We can assert that, from our own experience, seven years is not sufficient to enable us to cultivate the vine successfully in an old country, and much more so in a wilderness" (p. 7). In the end, the majority of the settlement disbanded and the tracts were sold to land agents for other purposes. The report contains a progress review, a detailed log of the condition of each section of land, and a list of shareholder names.
Octavo (220 x 140 mm). Lacking the original wrappers, exposed stab-stitched binding, titles to title page in black.
Library release stamps to pp. 9 and 33. Some loss to outer corner of title page, strong creases to top edge of pp. 25-32 and tear to p. 25, foxing and creasing throughout, pp. 51-52 slightly detached from binding and with a few nicks, a good copy.
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