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To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 1 June 1783

From Thomas Jefferson

RC (LC: Madison Papers). JM docketed the letter, “June 1. 1783,” and probably at a later date, “Tho. Jefferson 1. June 1783.”

Monticello June 1. 1783.

Dear Sir

The receipt of your letter of May 6.1 remains unacknoleged. I am also told that Colo Monroe has letters for me by post tho’ I have not yet received them.2 I hear but little from our assembly. mr. Henry has declared in favour of the impost. this will ensure it. how he is as to the other questions of importance I do not learn.3

On opening my papers when I came home I found among them the inclosed cyphers which I had received from either mr. Morris’s or mr. Livingston’s office. will you be so good as to return them for me? the confusion into which my papers had got going to & from Baltimore & left there for some time will I hope apologize for my having overlooked them when I returned the other papers.4 I send you inclosed the debates in Congress on the subjects of Independance, Voting in Congress, & the Quotas of money to be required from the states.5 I found on looking that I had taken no others save only in one trifling case.6 as you were desirous of having a copy of the original of the declaration of Independance I have inserted it at full length distinguishing the alterations it underwent.7

Patsy increases the bundle inclosed with her correspondence. my compliments attend my acquaintances of the family. Patsy’s letter to Miss Floyd will need a safe more than a speedy conveyance for which she trusts to your goodness. our friendship for that family as well as your interest in it will always render any news of them agreeable.8 I am with the sincerest esteem Dr. Sir

Your affectionate friend

Th: Jefferson

P.S. I inclose for your perusal the account of the Pain de singe which I mentioned. be so good as to communicate it to Dr. Shippen who had not heard of it. my compliments attend him &9

1Q.v.

3Jefferson was overly sanguine about the fate of “the impost” in the Virginia General Assembly during its session of May 1783. See Jefferson to JM, 7 May, and n. 10; Randolph to JM, 9 May, and n. 4; Jones to JM, 25 May; 31 May; 8 June; Pendleton to JM, 26 May 1783, and n. 11.

4The “cyphers” no doubt were the printed encoding and decoding pages which Robert R. Livingston and possibly Robert Morris had furnished to Jefferson after his arrival in Philadelphia on 27 December 1782 expecting to proceed to Paris as one of the American peace commissioners (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , VI, 4, nn. 2, 4; 132, n. 1; 180, n. 2; 243, n. 5; 327, n. 6).

5Jefferson to JM, 7 May, and n. 14. After receiving Jefferson’s record of “the debates” JM noted at the top of the forty-nine-page manuscript: “Furnished to JM by Mr. Jefferson in his hand writing; as a copy from his original notes” (LC: Jefferson Papers). This copy is printed in Madison, Papers (Gilpin ed.) description begins Henry D. Gilpin, ed., The Papers of James Madison (3 vols.; Washington, 1840). description ends , I, 9–18, 27–39, and in JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , VI, 1087–93, 1098–1106. Julian P. Boyd concluded that Jefferson, using his rough memoranda, prepared the original copy of his notes on the debates in “the late summer or early autumn of 1776” (Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (18 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , I, 299–308, 327 n.). Fourteen folios of the manuscript comprise a copy of the Declaration of Independence.

6Jefferson probably was referring to his “Outline of Argument Concerning Insubordination of Esek Hopkins,” made while he was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress (Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (18 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , VI, 274 n.; XV, 578–82; Harrison to Delegates, 20 June 1783, and nn. 1, 2).

7For a facsimile of the copy of the Declaration of Independence made for JM by Jefferson and now among Jefferson’s papers in the Library of Congress, see Julian P. Boyd, The Declaration of Independence: The Evolution of the Text as Shown in Facsimiles of Various Drafts by its Author, Thomas Jefferson (Princeton, N.J., 1945), p. 28, plate VIII. See also Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (18 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , I, 315–19, 416 n., 429. Before this same manuscript was transferred from the collection of Madison papers to that of Jefferson, it was printed in Madison, Papers (Gilpin ed.) description begins Henry D. Gilpin, ed., The Papers of James Madison (3 vols.; Washington, 1840). description ends , I, 19–27, and in JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , VI, 1093–98. In each of these printings, the editor indicated the differences between the Jefferson text furnished to JM and that of the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence signed by delegates in Congress chiefly on 12 July and 2 August 1776.

JM, probably in 1783 or within a few years thereafter, transcribed the copy of the Declaration sent to him in the present letter. He docketed the transcription, “Dec. Independence” and wrote above the title: “Original draught of declaration of Independan. by Mr. J.” (LC: Madison Papers). Besides numerous variations in abbreviation, capitalization, punctuation, and indentations between the two manuscripts, JM inadvertently placed Jefferson’s paragraph beginning “He has constrained others taken captive on the high seas” immediately before the paragraph beginning “He has waged war against human nature itself” rather than immediately after the paragraph beginning “He is at this time transporting large armies of mercenaries.” In their editions, the foregoing editors corrected this mistake in JM’s copy without comment.

8Martha (“Patsy”) Jefferson’s correspondent in the family of William Floyd was probably Maria Floyd. JM’s particular focus of “interest” was Catherine Floyd. See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , VI, 235, and nn. 1, 2; 254; 255; Jefferson to JM, 7 May 1783, and n. 16. The Floyds had been among the lodgers in Mrs. Mary House’s boardinghouse during Jefferson’s stay there. For other members of Mrs. House’s “family,” see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , VI, 182, n. 29.

9“Pain de singe,” or “monkey bread,” is the popular name of the gourdlike and edible fruit of the African baobab tree, or of the tree itself. For Dr. William Shippen, Jr., see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , VI, 41, n. 8. Perhaps after the ampersand, Jefferson intended to write “his lady,” nee Alice Lee of Stratford Hall, Va. (ibid).

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