On April 26 1812, Thomas Jefferson writes to Matthew Wills to thank him for trying to get him some carp for his ponds. Jefferson constructed fish ponds at various locations to breed his fish. The letter to Matthew Wills is reproduced below:
I return you many thanks for the fish you have been so kind as to send me, and still more for your aid in procuring the carp, and you will further oblige me by presenting my thanks to Capt. Holman and Mr. Ashlin. I have found too late, on enquiry that the cask sent was an old and foul one, and I have no doubt that must have been the cause of the death of the fish. The carp, altho' it cannot live the shortest time out of water, yet is understood to bear transportation in water the best of any fish whatever. The obtaining breeders for my pond being too interesting to be abandoned, I have had a proper smack made, such as is regularly used for transporting fish, to be towed after the boat, and have dispatched the bearer with it without delay, as the season is passing away. I have therefore again to solicit your patronage, as well as Captain Holman's in obtaining a supply of carp. I think a dozen would be enough, and would therefore wish him to come away as soon as he can get that number.