Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 14 April 1783

To James Madison

Susquehanna Apr. 14. 1783.

Dear Sir

Meeting at our quarters with a Mr. Levi going to Philadelphia and having no other employment, I write by him just to say that all is well, and that having made our stages regularly and in time we hope to make better way than Mr. Nash did. The Carolina letter bearer is here also. We pass one another two or three times a day. I never saw Mr. Ingles to speak to him about my books. Will you be so obliging as to make my acknowledgements to him for his undertaking and to ask him to send them to Richmond to the care of James Buchanan. Be pleased to make my compliments affectionately to the gentlemen and ladies.

I desire them to Miss Kitty particularly. Do you know that the raillery you sometimes experienced from our family strengthened by my own observation, gave me hopes there was some foundation for it. I wished it to be so as it would give me a neighbor whose worth I rate high, and as I know it will render you happier than you can possibly be in a single state. I often made it the subject of conversation, more exhortation, with her and was able to convince myself that she possessed every sentiment in your favor which you could wish. But of this no more without your leave.1

I am with much affection Dr. Sir Your sincere friend,

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); endorsed in a hand other than Madison’s: “Ths. Jefferson Apl. 14. 1783”; partly in code, as indicated below. Madison in his reply of 22 Apr. 1783 mentions “the several letters inclosed” in the present letter, but these have not been found.

For an account of Madison’s romance with Miss Kitty—Catherine Floyd—see Brant, Madison, ii, 283–7, where appears the first transliteration of the coded passage in this letter, but which differs in some particulars from the decoded passage given above. It was in 1783 that Madison and Catherine Floyd exchanged miniatures of each other; for a reproduction of the one of Madison by Peale that he gave to her, see above, Vol. 3: 3. Our family: That is, the Floyds, the Trists, and others who resided at the home of Mrs. House on the corner of Fifth and Market streets.

1This paragraph (though not indented separately as a paragraph in RC) was written entirely in cipher and has been decoded by the editors, employing Code No. 3. This was the first use of Code No. 3, which TJ and Madison had evidently devised sometime between 26 Feb. and 12 Apr. as a substitute for the one based on Nugent’s Dictionary, obviously because that one required such labor in encoding and decoding.

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