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From James Madison to James Monroe, 21 October 1817

To James Monroe

Montpellier Ocr. 21. 1817

Dear Sir

Your favor of the 18th. was handed to me by your servant, at a moment & place which did not permit me to acknowlege it by him. We regretted very much the circumstances which deprived us of the expected pleasure of seeing you all on your way to Washington.

I inclose the copy of your letter to Gen: Jackson. Your reasonings on the singular step taken by him can scarcely fail to convince him of his error. The tenderness with which it is treated is equally calculated to prevail over the feelings which he mingled with it.

When you happen to be at Loudon, where I understood Mr. Jones’s papers remain,1 will you advert to the letters from me to him, and give me the promised opportunity of seeing whether they contain any political facts of the period worth recollecting? They were written for the most part during my attendance in the old Congress; and as he was also a member during a part of the time, it is not improbable that the correspondence may have embraced incidents not found in the public annals. The letters to your Uncle from Gen Washington relating to the eruption in the army,2 will fall within your research.

I hear much complaint that the Lawler wheat3 sown in the latter part of Aug. & beginning of Sepr. is under a rapid depredation of the Insect. It has not yet appeared in my own field sown with it the last week or ten days in Sepr. I hope the large experiment you are making will not disappoint you.

Mrs. M. offers her best regards to Mrs. Monroe & Mrs. Hay. Be so good as to present me respectfully to them and to be assured of my great respect & cordial esteem

James Madison

RC (DLC: Monroe Papers). Docketed by Monroe.

1Joseph Jones (1727–1805), James Monroe’s uncle, was a member of the Continental Congress, 1777–78 and 1780–83, and represented King George County in the Virginia House of Delegates for four terms. He was also a member of the 1788 Virginia convention that adopted the U.S. Constitution. From 1789 until his death he was a judge of the Virginia General Court. Jones and JM frequently corresponded, though many of JM’s replies to Jones’s letters have not been found (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 , 1:318 n. 1; PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (8 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986—). description ends , 1:322 n. 3).

2On 14 Dec. 1782, George Washington wrote Joseph Jones to expect an address from the army cantoned at Newburgh, New York, to Congress “on the subject of their grievances” (Fitzpatrick, Writings of George Washington, 25:430–31). Washington warned that “the temper of the Army is much soured” and that “the dissatisfactions of the Army had arisen to a great and alarming height.” Subsequent inaction by Congress on army issues led to the Newburgh crisis in March 1783, when Washington’s intervention averted open revolt (Richard H. Kohn, Eagle and Sword: The Federalists and the Creation of the Military Establishment in America, 1783–1802 [New York, 1975], 17–39).

3Lawler wheat was a variety thought to be resistant to the Hessian fly. It created great excitement among farmers in the mid-Atlantic states in 1817 until its claims were found to be exaggerated (John Love to JM, 15 July 1817 and n. 1; Lewis Cecil Gray, History of Agriculture in the Southern United States to 1860 [2 vols.; Washington, 1933], 2:818–19).

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