Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1 June 1783

To James Madison

Monticello June 1. 1783.

Dear Sir

The receipt of your letter of May 6. remains unacknoleged. I am also told that Colo. Monroe has letters for me by post tho’ I have not yet received them. I hear but little from our assembly. Mr. Henry has declared in favour of the impost. This will ensure it. How he is as to the other questions of importance I do not learn.

On opening my papers when I came home I found among them the inclosed cyphers which I had received from either Mr. Morris’s or Mr. Livingston’s office. Will you be so good as to return them for me? The confusion into which my papers had got going to and from Baltimore and left there for some time will I hope apologize for my having overlooked them when I returned the other papers. I send you inclosed the debates in Congress on the subjects of Independance, Voting in Congress, and the Quotas of money to be required from the states. I found on looking that I had taken no others save only in one trifling case. As you were desirous of having a copy of the original of the declaration of Independance I have inserted it at full length distinguishing the alterations it underwent.

Patsy increases the bundle inclosed with her correspondence. My compliments attend my acquaintances of the family. Patsy’s letter to Miss Floyd will need a safe more than speedy conveyance for which she trusts to your goodness. Our friendship for that family as well as your interest in it will always render any news of them agreeable. I am with the sincerest esteem Dr. Sir Your affectionate friend,

Th: Jefferson

P.S. I inclose for your perusal the account of the Pain de singe which I mentioned. Be so good as to communicate it to Dr. Shippen who had not heard of it. My compliments attend him.

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); endorsed in a hand other than Madison’s. Of the numerous enclosures mentioned only one is clearly identifiable, namely TJ’s notes of proceedings in Congress, 7 June to 1 Aug. 1776, including a copy of the Declaration of Independence showing the changes it underwent between the time it was drafted and adopted; this document is printed above, Vol. 1: 309–29. Another enclosure must have consisted of printed forms for preparing and reading diplomatic ciphers; bearing numbers from 1 to 1700, these were given by R. R. Livingston to American diplomats going abroad (see E. C. Burnett, “Ciphers of the Revolutionary Period,” Amer. Hist. Rev., xxii [1916–1917], 332); there are examples of these in TJ Files from ViU, one of them blank and one filled in. “Patsy’s letter” was no doubt that of 28 May to Maria Floyd, acknowledged by the latter on 11 Jan. 1784 (DLC: TJ Papers, 9: 1626) who added a postscript: “please to present this paper to your Papa my Love. It’s an answer to his exercise.” Neither the exercise nor its answer has been found.

I found on looking that I had taken no others save only in one trifling case: It is possible that TJ here refers to his notes taken on 12 Aug. 1776 at the hearing held before Congress to determine the charges against Commodore Esek Hopkins for having violated his orders (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, D.C., 1904–37, 34 vols. description ends , v, 648). This interesting document, consisting of four pages of TJ’s extremely abbreviated notes, should have been included in Vol. 1 of the present edition (and will be included in the supplementary volume for documents discovered too late to be inserted in proper chronological order). It is in DLC: TJ Papers, 9: 1525–6 and bears at its top, in TJ’s hand, the date “Aug. 12. 1783.” It was, quite naturally, catalogued under that date and the MS inserted in TJ Papers among documents for 1783. But the error was TJ’s. It is obvious that when he went over his early Revolutionary papers in the spring of 1783 to obtain for Madison the notes that he had promised, TJ found the notes bearing on Commodore Hopkins’ hearing of 12 Aug. 1776; it must have been undated and, referring to his copy of the Journal of Congress, TJ established the proper date of day and month and then, from force of habit, wrote the year “1783.”

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