James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from James Monroe, 3 September 1823

From James Monroe

Sepr 3. 1823.

Dear Sir

It is painful for me to pass you, but some private concerns, & particularly the expectation of meeting Mr. Goodwyn, with whom I am in negotiation for the sale of my land, and who was expected there the day before yesterday hurries me on.1 We will indemnify ourselves on our return, in abt. a fortnight. I do not think it probable, that I shall sell, but I wish to be there as soon as in my power.

Our last intelligence, respecting Spain, was from Gibraltar, in a letter from Mr. Rodney.2 He intended to remain there, untill the frigate took Mr. Nelson3 into Cadiz, & returnd for him. He spoke in very desponding terms, of the affairs of Spn. but in such as absolutely abandond all hope.

Will you be so kind as to examine the papers sent by Mrs. Madison, relating to the claim of Governor Tompkins.4 We will confer on the subject when we meet. Your friend

James Monroe


1An alternative explanation for Monroe’s failure to stop at Montpelier was published in a newspaper, under the heading “Extract of a letter from Washington.” “You have heard much, and you will hear more of Mr. Crawford’s visit to Mr. Jefferson. It was well-timed. In this month, the President has usually visited his farm in Albemarle, and on his way stopped some days at Mr. Madison’s, and with him made a visit to Monticello. You know the estates of these great men lie contiguous. As soon as Mr. Crawford heard Mr. Monroe had left his estate in Loudon for that of Albemarle, he quitted Washington and arrived at Mr. Madison’s before him. On the President’s drawing up to Mr. Madison’s house, he appeared much surprised to see Mr. Crawford there, and, with that acute discernment, that sound judgment for which he is so eminently conspicuous, he saw at once what it all meant, and with an excellent address declined alighting, giving as a reason for not passing a day or two as usual, that he was pressed for time to meet a gentleman, who was waiting at Albemarle to treat with him for the purchase of that estate. This fact of the President’s not stopping at Mr. M’s, is innocently stated in a letter received here from a person in Mr. Madison’s family. Part of Mr. C’s plan is therefore frustrated; for had he succeeded in bringing the great trio together at Monticello, and mixed with them, then the nation would have been told why this meeting was projected, viz. to reconcile Mr. Monroe and Mr. Crawford to each other, and to unite by the joint influence of the President, Mr. Jefferson, and Mr. Madison, the republican part in their support of Mr. Crawford for President” (Rhode-Island American, and General Advertiser, 23 Sept. 1823).

2Caesar A. Rodney to Monroe, 21 July 1823 (DLC: Monroe Papers).

3Hugh Nelson (1768–1836), son of Thomas Nelson, former Virginia governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a graduate of the College of William and Mary, a lawyer, and an Albemarle County planter. Nelson served as a member of the U.S. House of Representives, 1811–23, and as U.S. minister to Spain, 1823–25.

4These papers have not been identified. For Daniel D. Tompkins’s claims against the United States resulting from his actions as governor of New York during the War of 1812, see Irwin, Daniel D. Tompkins, 284–301.

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