Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Dawson, 12 March 1801

To John Dawson

Washington Mar. 12. 1801.

Dear Sir

We shall be ready for you by the time you can arrive here. I would therefore wish you to come on without delay. mr Madison will not be here for some time; so that we cannot wait for him. health & friendly salutations.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (MHi); at foot of text: “John Dawson esq.”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.


John Dawson (1762–1814), a Harvard-trained Virginia congressman and lawyer from Caroline County, served in the House of Delegates for Spotsylvania County from 1786 to 1789, was a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1788, and a member of the Virginia ratifying convention in 1788. He assumed James Madison’s seat in the House of Representatives in May 1797 and served in the Fifth through Thirteenth Congresses until his death. His stepfather was also James Monroe’s uncle and guardian, and Monroe and Dawson maintained a lifelong relationship as political colleagues.

Dawson had written to TJ on 7 Mch. 1801 requesting “the Secretary of state to drop me a line at Fredericksburg on his arrival at this place” (RC in MHi; endorsed by TJ as received 9 Mch. and so recorded in SJL). Madison did not meet with Dawson before the latter on 22 Mch. set sail for France with the amended convention for final ratification (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; Biog. Dir. Cong.; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619-January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, Richmond, 1978 description ends , 162, 166, 170, 174, 177; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 1:26, 33).

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