From Andrew Stevenson
Richmond Decr. 3 1820.
Immediately on my return from the mountains this fall, I seized the first opportunity to fulfill the promise I gave you, in endeavoring to obtain the documents desired & am sorry to say that owing to causes not within my controul, I have as yet been unsuccessful. Mr. Randolph1 is not only willing, that you should have any letters which you may wish in his possession, but expresses much solicitude to oblige, & has repeatedly promised to make the necessary search amongst his father’s papers: He is however fond of his ease & as the mass of old papers is very considerable & in a state of utter derangement, he is (I imagine) fearful to undertake it. I have offered to save him the trouble & make the examination myself, & would so with pleasure, but he refuses, & repeats his determination of doing it himself. We must however make the search between us ere long, & the result shall be immediately Communicated to you. I very fortunately succeeded in laying my hands on the letter of Mr Bland to Mr. Jefferson & now inclose you a copy of it.2 No journal can be found here of the years wished, except those in the clerks office of the House of delegates, & there 20 duplicates; I have written to my friend Judge Fleming3 to know if he has them, & if so to loan them to me. Should they not be obtained, I will if you desire it, have such parts of the journals transcribed as you may need, or will borrow them of Mr Munford,4 for such time as you may wish. Any assistance I can render you in this or any other matter will be most cheerfully afforded & I hope by you freely commanded.
We shall certainly expect to see you & yr. dr. lady with us this winter according to promise & we shall be disappointed & mortified if you do not come. My good wife desires to be affy. remembered to yourself & Mrs. Madison, but I tell her to speak for herself, which she says she will do on the other side of the paper.5 I tender to Mrs M my most respectful & affe. regards & beg you to accept the same from dr. sir Yr fd. & obt. sert.
RC (ViU: Special Collections).
1. Peyton Randolph (1779–1828), the son of JM’s good friend Edmund Randolph, was a Richmond lawyer and official reporter of cases before the Virginia Court of Appeals (PJM 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., 1977–91). description ends 4:147–48 n. 2; New-Bedford Mercury, 9 Jan. 1829; Richmond Enquirer, 12 Feb. 1829).
2. See Theodorick Bland to Thomas Jefferson, 22 Nov. 1780, Boyd, Papers of Thomas Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (36 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950–). description ends , 4:136–38. A transcript of this letter can be found in the Madison Papers, Library of Congress, certified by William Munford, 30 Sept. 1820.
3. William Fleming (1736–1824) was educated at the College of William and Mary and practiced law. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1776–79, for a short time in the Continental Congress in 1779, and as a judge on the Virginia Court of Appeals, 1780–1824, where he was president from 1809 until his death (David J. Mays, “William Fleming, 1736–1824,” Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth Annual Meeting [of] the Virginia State Bar Association [Richmond, Va., 1927], 426–35).
4. William Munford (1775–1825), a graduate of the College of William and Mary, was a Richmond attorney, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, 1797–1802, of the Senate, 1802–6, and of the Council of State, 1806–11. He was clerk of the House of Delegates thereafter until his death. His translation of Homer’s Iliad was published in 1846 (Rufus Wilmot Griswold, The Poets and Poetry of America [New York, 1873], 78–79).