Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 31 December 1811

To James Madison

Monticello Dec. 31. 11.

Dear Sir

It is long since I have had occasion to address a line to you, and the present is an irksome one. with all the discouragements I can oppose to those who wish to make me the channel of their wishes for office, some will force themselves on me. I inclose you the letters of several merely to be placed on the file of candidates & to stand on their own ground, for I do not know one of them personally. Gerna indeed, the recommender of Arata, I once saw at Paris. he was a bookseller from Dublin, and I got him to send me some books from thence, & that is all I know of him. le Compte despinville I never saw nor heard of before; nor have I ever seen de Neufville his recommender; but he brot me a letter of introduction from the Countess d’Houdeton, an old lady from whom I recieved many civilities & much1 hospitality while in France. she was the intimate friend of Dr Franklin, and I should feel myself obliged to render any civilities or personal services in my power to one of her recommendation. De la Croix I never saw. but he is a very able military man as far as I can judge from many excellent pamphlets & essays in the newspapers written by him, and Genl Dearborne thought him a valuable man. I write to him & to de Neufville that they must send certificates of character to the Secretary at war, and I pray you to consider me only as the postrider bearing their letters to you.

The prospect of the death of George III. still keeps up a hope of avoiding war. we have had a bad fall for our wheat. I never saw it look worse. we have had but ¾ I. of rain in the last 8. weeks. your message had all the qualities it should possess, firm, rational and dignified, and the report of the Commee of foreign relations was excellent. they carry conviction to every mind. heaven help you through all your difficulties.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); endorsed by Madison. PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President US.”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: Anthony Gerna to TJ, 10 June 1811, and enclosure. Other enclosures are accounted for at notes to TJ to Jean Guillaume Hyde de Neuville and to Irenée Amelot De Lacroix, both 31 Dec. 1811.

The letter of introduction from Elisabeth Françoise Sophie de La Live de Bellegarde, comtesse d’Houdetot, is not recorded in SJL and has not been found. TJ is referring to Madison’s annual message to Congress of 5 Nov. 1811 (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 29 vols.: Congress. Ser., 17 vols.; Pres. Ser., 5 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 7 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 4:1–5). The House committee on foreign relations suggested that Congress complete and perfect the military establishment; raise an additional ten thousand regulars; authorize the president to accept the services of up to fifty thousand volunteers; give him the power to call portions of the militia into federal service as needed; repair all naval vessels not in service; and allow American merchant ships to arm themselves (Report of the Committee, appointed on so much of the Message of the President of the United States, as relates to our Foreign Relations [Washington, 1811], 8).

1Reworked from “so many civilities & so much.”

Index Entries

  • Arata, Teophane; recommended by A. Gerna search
  • Dearborn, Henry; as secretary of war search
  • Despinville, Charles; and West Point appointment search
  • Espinville, Charles, comte d’; seeks West Point appointment for son search
  • Eustis, William; as secretary of war search
  • Franklin, Benjamin; and E. F. S. Houdetot search
  • George III, king of Great Britain; health of search
  • Gerna, Anthony; recommends T. Arata search
  • Houdetot, Elisabeth Françoise Sophie de La Live de Bellegarde, comtesse d’; and military appointment for C. Despinville search
  • Houdetot, Elisabeth Françoise Sophie de La Live de Bellegarde, comtesse d’; letters from accounted for search
  • Houdetot, Elisabeth Françoise Sophie de La Live de Bellegarde, comtesse d’; TJ’s acquaintance with search
  • House of Representatives, U.S.; Foreign Relations Committee search
  • Hyde de Neuville, Jean Guillaume; and military appointment for C. Despinville search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Lacroix, Irenée Amelot De, Baron de Vanden Boègard; seeks military appointment search
  • Madison, James; and appointments search
  • Madison, James; letters to search
  • military; expansion of search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); wheat crop at search
  • New York (state); U.S. Military Academy (West Point) search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation from TJ search
  • United States Military Academy (West Point, N.Y.); appointment to sought search
  • War Department, U.S.; letters of recommendation sent to search
  • wheat; at Monticello search
  • wheat; effect of weather on search