Thomas Jefferson Papers
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James Monroe to Thomas Jefferson, 18 July 1809

From James Monroe

18. July 09.

Jas Monroe’s best respects to Mr Jefferson. He has the pleasure to send him the Edinburg review which Mr Jefferson expressd a desire to peruse. J M. has also the pleasure to send to Mr Jefferson a copy of La Place’s systeme du Mondes, which he brought for him in 97. from France. it being a work then recently published which he presumed had not found a place in his library. J M begs Mr Jefferson’s acceptance of this work. He would have sent it to him long since had it not been packed with other books which the want of room prevented his opening.

RC (DLC); dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ as received 18 July 1809 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Pierre Simon, marquis de Laplace, Exposition du Systême du Monde, 2 vols. (Paris, 1796; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 3801).

James Monroe (1758–1831), president of the United States, 1817–25, was a longtime friend, political ally, and frequent correspondent of TJ. He attended the College of William and Mary, attained the rank of major in the Continental army during the Revolutionary War, and studied law under TJ before his admission to the Virginia bar in 1782. Monroe represented Virginia in the Confederation Congress, 1783–86, and opposed the new federal constitution at the state ratification convention two years later. He played a key role in the emergence of the Republican party during service in the United States Senate, 1790–94, and as minister plenipotentiary to France, 1794–97. Monroe then returned to Virginia and with TJ’s encouragement began work on Highland, his new home in Albemarle County near Monticello. He was governor of Virginia, 1799–1802, and starting in 1803 TJ successively appointed him minister to France, Spain, and Great Britain. While in Paris, Monroe helped to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase. He returned from Europe in 1807, ran unsuccessfully for president the following year, was governor of Virginia again in 1811, and served as James Madison’s secretary of state, 1811–17, with some concurrent stints as acting secretary of war (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Ammon, Monroe description begins Harry Ammon, James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity, 1971 description ends ; Daniel Preston, A Comprehensive Catalogue of the Correspondence and Papers of James Monroe, 2 vols. [2001]; note to TJ to Madison, 30 Mar. 1809).

TJ later subscribed to the New York reissue of the quarterly Edinburgh Review (Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4733). The issue sent by Monroe has not been identified. TJ had already ordered a copy of Laplace’s work in 1802 (Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 3801).

Index Entries

  • Edinburgh Review; TJ subscribes to search
  • Exposition du Systême du Monde (P.S. Laplace) search
  • Laplace, Pierre Simon, marquis de; Exposition du Systême du Monde search
  • Monroe, James; identified search
  • Monroe, James; letters from search
  • Monroe, James; sends book to TJ search