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To James Madison from James Monroe, 9 December 1824

From James Monroe

Washington Decr 9. 1824

Dear Sir

Mr Ticknor & mr Webster, both of whom are well known personally to you, intending to make a visit to Virga., & to pay their respects to you1 and Mr. Jefferson, I have only to express my hope, that, in other quarters, they may receive the attention, which both of you, will shew them. They intend also to visit the University, in which you will be so kind, as to afford them, every facility they may require. With sincere regard I am dear Sir yours

James Monroe


1George Ticknor described his visit to Montpelier in a letter to William H. Prescott of 16 Dec. 1824:

“On Saturday morning we reached Mr. Madison’s, at Montpellier, on the west side of what is called the Southwest Mountain; a very fine, commanding situation, with the magnificent range of the Blue Ridge stretching along the whole horizon in front, at the distance of from twenty to thirty miles.

We were received with a good deal of dignity and much cordiality, by Mr. and Mrs. Madison, in the portico, and immediately placed at ease; for they were apprised of our coming an hour or two before we arrived, and were therefore all in order, to show a little of that ceremony in which Mrs. Madison still delights.

Mr. Madison is a younger-looking man—he is now seventy-four—than he was when I saw him ten years ago, with an unsuccessful war grinding him to the earth; and he is one of the most pleasant men I have met, both from the variety and vivacity of his conversation. He lives, apparently, with great regularity. We breakfasted at nine, dined about four, drank tea at seven, and went to bed at ten; that is, we went to our rooms, where we were furnished with everything we wanted, and where Mrs. Madison sent us a nice supper every night and a nice luncheon every forenoon. From ten o’clock in the morning till three we rode, walked, or remained in our rooms, Mr. and Mrs. Madison being then occupied. The table is very ample and elegant, and somewhat luxurious; it is evidently a serious item in the account of Mr. M.’s happiness, and it seems to be his habit to pass about an hour, after the cloth is removed, with a variety of wines of no mean quality.

On politics he is a little reserved, as he seems determined not to be again involved in them; but about everything else he talked with great freedom, and told an interminable series of capital stories, most of which have some historical value. His language, though not very rich or picturesque, was chosen with much skill, and combined into very elegant and finished sentences; and both Mr. Webster and myself were struck with a degree of good-sense in his conversation which we had not anticipated from his school of politics and course of life. We passed our time, therefore, very pleasantly, and feel indebted to him for a hospitality which becomes one who has been at the head of the nation.

On Sunday forenoon we took a ride of a dozen miles across different plantations, to see the country and the people. Mr. Madison’s farm—as he calls it—consists of about three thousand acres, with an hundred and eighty slaves, and is among the best managed in Virginia” (Life, Letters, and Journals of George Ticknor [2 vols.; Boston, 1909], 1:346–47).

In a letter to a friend, Daniel Webster noted: “We were two days at Mr Madisons. He was very agreeable, & treated us with much hospitality. He keeps alive a stronger interest in passing events than his more advanced friend [Jefferson]. Mrs. Madison is in perfect health, & remembers all her Washington aquaintances” (Webster to Jeremiah Mason, 29 Dec. 1824, Charles M. Wiltse, ed., The Papers of Daniel Webster, Correspondence [7 vols.; Hanover, N.H., 1974–86], 1:379).

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