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To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 10 March 1817

From Thomas Jefferson

Monticello Mar. 10. 17.

Dear Sir

Besey1 calling on me for some seed allows me just time to write a line, to await your arrival at home, requesting your attendance as a visitor of our proposed college on Tuesday the 8th. of April,2 being the day after our election. You will of course, I am in hopes come here the day or evening before, that we may have some previous consultation on the subject. I shall also request Genl. Cocke & mr. Watson to make this their head quarters, as I have done mr. Cabell.3 Colo. Monroe I suppose will not be in the neighborhood. Congratulating you on the riddance of your burthens, I salute you affectionately and respectfully.

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViU: Jefferson Papers); FC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). RC addressed by Jefferson to JM at Montpelier, with the direction, “by mr. Besey.”

1This was the French gardener Charles Bizet, who was employed by the Madisons in 1810 to create a formal garden and landscape the grounds at Montpelier. Though JM remarked in October 1817 that “Bizet has indicated a disposition to remain with us,” the Frenchman began work as the White House gardener in November or December 1817. He was dismissed by President John Quincy Adams in the summer of 1825 (PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (6 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984—). description ends , 2:437 and n. 1; JM to Richard Cutts, 12 Oct. 1817; Judah Delano, The Washington Directory … [Washington, 1822], 18; William Seale, The President’s House: A History, 2d ed. [2 vols.; Baltimore, 2008], 1:165–67).

2Virginia governor Wilson Cary Nicholas appointed JM to the board of visitors of the Central College, precursor to the University of Virginia, and on 18 Oct. 1816 sent him a commission (DLC). JM was unable to attend the board’s 8 Apr. meeting as he arrived at Montpelier from Washington on the same day.

3John Hartwell Cocke (1780–1866) of Bremo in Fluvanna County, Virginia, was an agricultural reformer and zealous supporter of the American Colonization Society, the American Temperance Union, and various Bible and Sunday school societies. He was an early supporter of the University of Virginia and served on its board of visitors from 1819 to 1852. David Watson, a 1797 graduate of the College of William and Mary and veteran of the War of 1812, was a lawyer who represented Louisa County in the Virginia General Assembly (Malcolm H. Harris, History of Louisa County, Virginia [Richmond, 1936], 426). Joseph Carrington Cabell (1778–1856) of Nelson County, Virginia, was a 1798 graduate of the College of William and Mary who served multiple terms in both houses of the Virginia General Assembly. A strong supporter of the University of Virginia, he served on its board of visitors from 1819 to 1856, and was rector twice (PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (8 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986—). description ends , 4:199 n. 1). Cocke, Watson, Cabell, and James Monroe, with Jefferson and JM, were members of the first board of visitors of the Central College (Philip Alexander Bruce, History of the University of Virginia, 1819–1919: The Lengthened Shadow of One Man [5 vols.; New York, 1920–22], 1:143).

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