Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 26 November 1782

To James Madison

Ampthill in Chesterfeild Nov. 26. 1782.

Dear Sir

Your favour by Colo. Basset is not yet come to hand. The intimation through the Attorney I received the day before Colo. Bland’s arrival by whom I am honoured with your’s of the 14th inst. It finds me at this place attending my family under inoculation. This will of course retard those arrangements of my domestic affairs which will of themselves take time and cannot be made but at home. I shall lose no time however in preparing for my departure; and from the calculation’s I am at present enabled to make I suppose I cannot be in Philadelphia before the 20th. of December, and that possibly it may be the last of that month. Some days I must certainly pass there; as I could not propose to jump into the midst of a negotiation without a single article of previous information. From these data you will be enabled to judge of the chance of availing myself of his Excy. the Chev. de la Luzerne’s kind offer to whom I beg you to present my thanks for his friendly attention and to let him know I shall use my best endeavors to be in time for the departure of his frigate. No circumstance of a private nature could induce me to hasten over the several obstacles to my departure more unremittingly than the hope of having the Chevalr. de Chattlux as a companion in my voiage. A previous acquaintance with his worth and abilities had impressed me with an affection for him which under the then prospect of never seeing him again was perhaps imprudent.

I am with very sincere esteem Dr. Sir Your affectionate friend & humble servt.

Dft (DLC); at foot of text: “Hon. James Madison at Congress.” Corrections made in composition are not noted here.

Neither Madison’s favour by Colo. Basset nor that of the 14th inst. has been found. The intimation through the attorney clearly refers to the fact that, before TJ received Livingston’s official notification or Madison’s (missing) letter of 14 Nov., Edmund Randolph (the attorney) had informed him of the news of the reappointment; for Madison had written Randolph on 12 Nov. in which he quoted the resolution that he had introduced and added: “This resolution passed a few minutes ago. I sent you a line for the post but I fear too late. This catches Doctr. Tucker in the street proceeding by the State House. You will let it be known to Mr. J. as quickly as secrecy will admit. An official notification will follow by the first opportunity. This will prepare him for it: It passed unanimously and without a single remark adverse to it. On this subject again by the post next week or by Col: B[land] if earlier” (Madison, Writings, ed. Hunt, i, 257). On the 14th Madison again wrote Randolph: “Col. Bland by whom this goes, conveys an official notification from Mr. Livingston under cover to Col. Monroe. As you will probably in consequence of it, if not before have an interview with Mr. [J.], no observations on the subject are necessary. I confide in his acceptance and flatter myself with the pleasure of soon seeing him in Philada.” (same, I, 257). It is possible that Theodorick Bland also carried a (missing) letter from LA Luzerne to TJ informing him of the opportunity to sail on a French vessel (see TJ to Chastellux, this date). Randolph saw TJ on 28 Nov. and found it “unnecessary to add incentives to his acceptance of his plenipotentiaryship” (Randolph to Madison, 29 Nov. 1782; also 8 Nov. and 13 Dec. 1782; DLC: Madison Papers).

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