The Resource 1772-1780
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- Papers, 1772-1780, of Filippo Mazzei (1730-1816) of Albemarle County, Virginia, and Italy and England, consisting of letters to Thomas Adams (ca. 1730-1788) of Richmond, Virginia, and includes a proposal for forming a company to make "wine, oil, agruminous plants, and silk" in Virginia. The letters discuss various business and personal matters, as well as Mazzei's capture on the high sea by the British navy and his subsequent imprisonment. The originals are at the Virginia Historical Society, and transcripts may be found in Richard C. Garlick, Jr., PHILIP MAZZEI, FRIEND OF JEFFERSON: HIS LIFE AND LETTERS
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- Filippo (Philip) Mazzei was born 25 December 1730 in Italy. He attended the Hospital Santa Maria Nuova in Florence and became a doctor. He traveled about Europe, spending time in Italy, Germany, and Turkey, before arriving in London, England, in 1756. While in London he met Thomas Adams (ca. 1730-1788), a Virginian conducting business in England. Adams convinced Mazzei to emigrate to Virginia, which the latter did in 1773. Adams, who had also returned to Virginia, introduced Mazzei to the leading citizens of Virginia, including Thomas Jefferson. Impressed with Mazzei, Jefferson gave him land adjoining Monticello. Mazzei undertook the cultivation of grapes for wine-making. The American Revolution interrupted his efforts as Mazzei joined the struggle for independence. Appointed Virginia's agent to Europe to raise funds, Mazzei was captured and briefly imprisoned. Upon his release he traveled to Europe where he successfully promoted a Franco-American alliance, but unsuccessfully attempted to raise funds. Returning to Virginia, Mazzei again attempted his agricultural experiments. However, he returned to Europe in 1785 to visit friends and relatives and despite attempts, he never returned to Virginia. Mazzei witnessed the French Revolution and worked for the King of Poland as an intelligencer. Mazzei received public office from the king, but left Poland when Russia and Prussia invaded the country. Returning to Italy, Mazzei continued to correspond with Jefferson and James Madison. He died 19 March 1816.
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