Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from the Rev. James Madison, [1773?]

From the Rev. James Madison


Dr. Sir

I know not in what Manner sufficiently to thank you for your kind offices. It is happy that Circumstance was mentioned, as it is probable it might otherwise have been of much Prejudice. Mr. Henley proposes going with me this Morning to Most of the Visitors, which with the Assistance of your previous Application and a Recommendatory Line from Mr. G——n I flatter myself, will ensure success. I am, Your most Obligd. Friend & Servt.,

J. Madison

MS (MHi); undated and unaddressed, but the presence of the letter among Jefferson’s papers, the fact that notations concerning two deeds by him are on the verso, and the life-long friendship between the two men indicate that it was directed to him.

The date cannot be established precisely, but the letter seems clearly to indicate that TJ had exercised his kind offices in Madison’s behalf in order to obtain for the latter a post at the College of William and Mary. This can have been only the professorship of natural philosophy and mathematics to which he was appointed in 1773 or the presidency to which he was elected in 1777. The former is indicated because both professors Samuel Henley and Thomas G[watki]n were present in 1773 but were not in 1777. TJ was obliged to be present in Williamsburg several times a year because the General Court met there in April and October and the Court of Oyer and Terminer in June and December, hence a more precise date cannot be ascertained.

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