Thomas Jefferson Papers
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James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 11 September 1809

From James Madison

Montpellier Sepr 11. 1809

Dear Sir

I send herewith a few papers which have come to my hands along with those addressed to myself.

Jackson according to a note sent from Annapolis to Mr Smith was to be in Washington on friday evening last. The letters from Mr Pinkney brought by him, were dated June 23. and merely rehearsed a conversation with Canning; from which it would seem, that C. readily admitted that his second condition (colonial trade) had no connection with the subject, & that it was not to be expected the U.S. would accede to the 3d (G.B. to execute our laws). Why then make them Ultimata; or if not Ultimata, why reject the arrangemt of E. for not including them; For as to the 1st art: if he does not fly from his language to P. the continuance of the non-intercourse vs France, cannot be denied to be a substantial fulfilment of it. From this view of the matter, it might be inferred that Jackson comes with a real olive in his hand. But besides the general slipperiness of his superior, some ideas fell from him in his conversation with P. justifying distrust of his views.

The bearer of this is Mr Palmer, a young man, respectable I believe, of New York. He is very remarkable as a linguist, and for the most part self-taught. He is perhaps the only American, never out of his own Country, who has dipt as much into the Chinese.

The letter1 herewith for Capt Coles, was to have gone by the last mail. If no earlier conveyance shd offer I beg the favor of its being sent to the post office in time for the next. Be assured always of my affectionate respects

James Madison

As we wish not to be from home, in case any of our friends from Monticello should indulge us with a visit, be so good as to drop us notice of the time.

I have mustered up the Weather Journals, & wd send them by the present oppy but that they wd encumber too much. The fall of water I find has been noted, for not more than 7 or 8 years. The other items much longer

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 11 Sept. 1809 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures not found.

Robert Smith had enclosed the letter from William pinkney in an 8 Sept. 1809 letter to Madison (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Foreign Relations, 3:303; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 31 vols.: Congress. Ser., 17 vols.; Pres. Ser., 5 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 6 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 1:365). e.: David M. Erksine. Aaron H. palmer, a merchant in New York, sent Madison his treatise on the Chinese language earlier in 1809 (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 31 vols.: Congress. Ser., 17 vols.; Pres. Ser., 5 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 6 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 1:208). Madison and other family members kept a series of weather journals for Montpellier from 1784 until at least 1802 (Madison, Meteorological Journals, 1784–93, 1798–1802 [PPAmP]; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 31 vols.: Congress. Ser., 17 vols.; Pres. Ser., 5 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 6 vols description ends , Congress. Ser., 8:514–5).

1Manuscript: “leter.”

Index Entries

  • Canning, George; British foreign minister search
  • Chinese language; treatise on by A. Palmer search
  • Coles, Isaac A.; J. Madison forwards letter from search
  • Erskine, David M.; agreement with U.S. search
  • Jackson, Francis James; British minister to U.S. search
  • language; Chinese search
  • Madison, James; letters from search
  • Madison, James; weather journal of search
  • meteorological observations; by J. Madison search
  • Montpellier (Montpelier; J. Madison’s Orange Co. estate); meteorological observations at search
  • Non-Intercourse Act; J. Madison on search
  • Palmer, Aaron H. search
  • Pinkney, William; as U.S. minister to Great Britain search
  • Smith, Robert; secretary of state search