James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 22 June 1817

From Thomas Jefferson

Monticello June 22. 17.

Dear Sir

In two packages, distinct from this letter, I return you your father’s meteorological diaries,1 which you were so kind as to lend me, and a piece on paper money recieved from you some time ago.2 From the former I have made out tables of rain and snow, and a calendar of animal and vegetable matters announcing the advance of seasons. Having now compleated 7. years of observations since my return home, I have drawn such general results from them in the form of tables and otherwise, as may be comprehended by the mind, & retained by the memory. They constitute an estimate of our climate, the only useful object to which they can be applied. I inclose you a copy of both.3

I have for some time been very anxious to pay you a visit: but mrs. Randolph4 wishing to join in it, and detained by the daily expectation of the measles appearing among her children, it has been put off until I am now within 2 or 3. days of setting out for my harvest in Bedford to be absent 3. weeks; and as I shall pass the months of Aug. & Sep. there, we must pay our visit in July, after the harvest is over. When here an observation fell from you once or twice which did not strike me at the time, but reflection afterwards led me to hope it had meaning; and that you thought of applying your retirement to the best use possible, to a work which we have both long wished to see well done, and which we thought at one time would have been done.5 My printed materials are all gone to Washington, but those in letters & notes & memms. remain with me, are very voluminous, very full, and shall be entirely at your command. But this subject can be fathomed only in conversation, and must therefore await the visit. We just learn the desperate situation of young Eston Randolph son of T. E. Randolph our neighbor;6 the two families being in their intercourse and relations almost as one, fills that of Monticello with affliction. He had just landed at Baltimore from an East India voyage. Ever & affectionately yours.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers); FC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). RC docketed by JM.

1For a description of the weather records kept by the Madison family in the 1780s and 1790s, see Meteorological Journal for Orange County, Virginia, in Madison’s Hand, PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77, vols. 11–17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977–91). description ends , 8:514–15.

2The “piece on paper money” was almost certainly Homo’s Letters on a National Currency (Washington, 1817; Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 41080), a copy of which the author, Thomas Law, had sent JM in February (Law to JM, 1 Feb. 1817 [first letter, DLC]). Madison’s copy of this pamphlet is in the Madison Collection, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library.

3Enclosures not found. The weather observations that Jefferson referred to are published in Edwin Morris Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book, 1766–1824 (Philadelphia, 1944), 622–28.

4Martha Jefferson Randolph (1772–1836), daughter of Thomas Jefferson and wife of Thomas Mann Randolph Jr., was a good friend of Dolley Payne Madison (Edwin Morris Betts and James Adam Bear Jr., eds., The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson [Columbia, Mo., 1966], 15).

5Jefferson referred to “a piece of work” that he and JM had “cut out” for Joel Barlow, which was “to write the history of the United States, from the close of the War downwards.” Although Barlow made some preparations for such a work, his death in 1812 ended his participation in the project (Jefferson to Barlow, 3 May 1802, Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson [10 vols.; New York, 1892–99], 8:151; 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 , 5:455 n. 1).

6Thomas Eston Randolph, a brother-in-law of Thomas Mann Randolph Jr., lived at Glenmore in Albemarle County, Virginia, 1803–10, and then at Ashton until 1826 (James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826 [2 vols.; Princeton, 1997], 2:1156 n. 74; Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, 303). His son, William Eston Randolph, died on 16 June 1817 in Baltimore “after a short illness” (Baltimore Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser, 17 June 1817).

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