James Madison Papers
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From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 17 February 1784

To Thomas Jefferson

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Undocketed. Cover missing.

Orange Feby 17th. 1784.

Dear Sir

I wrote to you a few days ago by the post acknowledging your favor of the 10th. of Decr.1 Mr. Maury has since afforded me an opportunity which I cannot omit to acknowledge that of the first of Jany. which has just come to hand, and to express the concern I feel at the account it gives of your ill health. I hope earnestly that this will find it in a better state and that I may soon receive a confirmation of such a favorable change.2 Your explanation of Buffon’s hypothesis has rectified my misconception of it and I forbear as I ought perhaps formerly to have done, making any further remarks on it, at least till I have seen the work itself.3 I forgot to mention to you in my last that I had recd. a letter from Mazzei dated at Richmond, apprising me of a proposed visit to Orange from whence he meant to proceed to Annapolis.4 As I wish in a little time to make an effort to import som[e] law-books, and shall probably hereafter extend the plan to other books, particularly from France, I must beg the favor of you to obtain the name & address of a fit Bookseller both in London & Paris if the means of such information should at any time fall in your way.5 I have committed to Mr. Maury’s care another letter to my worthy friend Mrs. House, which in case he should not proceed to Philada. he will put into your hand.6

I am my dear Sir with the sincerest wishes for the reestablishment of your health and every other happiness, your Obt. friend & servant

J. Madison Jr.

2Jefferson to JM, 1 Jan. 1784, and n. 10. The bearer of the present letter was probably James Maury of Fredericksburg (Jefferson to JM, 11 Dec. 1783, and hdn.).

4For Philip Mazzei’s arrival in Virginia from Europe on 23 November 1783, 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, 243, n. 1; 244, n. 5. Mazzei’s letter to JM has not been found. He visited Montpelier both in March and April 1784 (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 , VII, 62–63, 121–22, 124 n.; Richard Cecil Garlick, Jr., Philip Mazzei, Friend of Jefferson: His Life and Letters [Baltimore, 1933], pp. 86–87; “Memoirs of Philip Mazzei,” trans. E[ugenio] C. Branchi, William and Mary Quarterly, 2d ser., X [1930], 7–9). To the news that Mazzei was expected “to proceed to Annapolis,” Jefferson responded on 16 Mar. 1784 (LC: Madison Papers).

5JM to Jefferson, 10 Dec. 1783, and n. 12; Jefferson to JM, 20 Feb. 1784, and nn. 47, 48; 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 , VII, 31, 37.

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