James Madison Papers

Nicholas P. Trist to James Madison, 8 November 1827

Monticello Nov. 8. ’27.

Dear Sir

Owing to my not attending Court on Monday I did not receive your favor of the 3d. till the next day. Nothing has reached me concerning the papers you enquire after. I think it not unlikely, however, that Mr Sparks may have entrusted them to Mr. Hilliard of Boston, who set out thence some weeks since, & has been daily looked for for a good while. When he arrives, I shall ask if nothing was put into his hands for you.

Previous to leaving this house, I had caused all the most important of Mr Jefferson’s presses to be screwed up. One of these, containing the Paris papers, I had never looked into until lately, when I opened it in search of some paper Mr Sparks was anxious to obtain. In the drawer of this I found two more books of letters (which from the label on the inside of the book are from 1787 to 1798) some of them from yourself, which no doubt from the period, are of a peculiarly interesting character. At Mr Randolph’s desire, I shall send these & all others from you, to take their place with the rest of your correspondence. This, either by the present post or an early one.

The papers to Mrs D. I shall probably have an opportunity of sending from Charlottesville this morning. The article you were so good as to point out to me, I found very interesting. It recalled one of the passages you read to me from Mr. Everett’s book, the last time I had the pleasure of being at Montpellier; and shews that he is not singular in the view there taken of the position now occupied by G. Britain in the system of nations. What a change since Mr Jefferson knew them & used to write about them! That the government then the most selfish in the world, should become the most liberal & most cosmopolitan; as it seems to be considered, and I suppose bids fair to become if it is not already, under such men as now direct public opinion there. It is an evidence of the identity of policy and virtue, in the political as in the individual state: in proportion as they become enlightened as to their own interests, they find those interests best promoted by principles which benefit others as well as themselves.

I have been very busily engaged since I last wrote, & have done nothing as yet in the report business. You may make yourself easy on the subject, however, and calculate on its being attended to in time. Accept my usual salutations of attachment & reverence

Nichs. Ph: Trist

RC (ViHi: Nicholas P. Trist Album Book). Docketed by James Madison.

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