James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 17 September 1800

From Thomas Jefferson

Monticello Sep. 17. 1800.

Dear Sir

I now send by Bp. Madison the balance which should have gone from our last court by mr. Barber: but not seeing him the first day of the court, & that breaking up on the first day contrary to usage & universal expectation, mr. Barber was gone before I knew that fact. Is it not strange the public should have no information of the proceedings & prospects of our envoys in a case so vitally interesting to our commerce? That at a time when, as we suppose, all differences are in a course of amicable adjustment, Truxton should be fitted out with double diligence that he may get out of port before the arrival of a treaty, & shed more human blood merely for the pleasure of shedding it? I have a letter from mr. Butler1 in which he supposes that the republican vote of N. Carolina will be but of a bare majority. Georgia he thinks will be unanimous with the republicans; S. C. unanimous either with them or against them: but not certainly which. Dr. Rush2 & Burr give favorable accounts of Jersey. Granger & Burr even count with confidence on Connecticut.3 But that is impossible. The revolution there indeed is working with very unexpected rapidity: before another Congressional election it will probably be complete. There is good reason to believe Massachusets will increase her republican vote in Congress, & that Levi Lincoln4 will be one. He will be a host in himself; being undoubtedly the ablest & most respectable man of the Eastern states. Health, respect & affection.

Th: Jefferson

 D c


RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers); FC (DLC: Jefferson Papers).

1Pierce Butler to Jefferson, 24 Aug. 1800 (not found, but listed in Jefferson’s Epistolary Record [DLC: Jefferson Papers]).

2Benjamin Rush’s letter to Jefferson, 22 Aug. 1800 (DLC: Jefferson Papers), does not mention New Jersey politics.

3Aaron Burr wrote optimistically to Robert R. Livingston on 7 Sept. 1800 that “there is reason to expect that the assembly of Connecticut, (to be chosen next week), will be democratic and that either no Votes for President will be given or that Jefferson will have them.” On 24 Sept., however, Burr reported to Livingston that Connecticut had elected a Federalist majority in both houses of the legislature (Kline, Papers of Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr (2 vols.; Princeton, N.J., 1983). description ends , 1:446–47).

4Levi Lincoln (1749–1820) was a Harvard-trained Massachusetts lawyer. A leader in that state’s Republican party, Lincoln was elected in 1800 to serve out the remainder of Dwight Foster’s term in the Sixth Congress. That same year he was elected to a seat in the Seventh Congress but resigned after Jefferson designated him as attorney general. In that capacity Lincoln also deputized for JM in the State Department between March and May 1801. He resigned from Jefferson’s cabinet in 1804, and in 1810 JM tried to persuade him, without success, to accept nomination to the Supreme Court (PJM-SS description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77, vols. 11–17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977–90). description ends , 1:1–2; JM to Lincoln, 20 Oct. 1810 [MHi]).

5Sum not on FC.

Index Entries