Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Monroe, 9 August 1784

From James Monroe

New York August 9th. 1784

Dear Sir

I wrote you lately by Mr. Short from Richmd. He intended sailing in a few days from Warwick so that by this time or at least before this reaches you, you will have received it. I am so far on my way in performance of my trip thro’ the Lakes rivers &c. You will observe by this that I have chang’d my rout and commence for the westward here up the No. river, thence to the Lakes, thro’ the Lakes to Detroit and thence to the Ohio, from the Ohio home. Upon the Ohio I purchase horses. Perhaps I may visit Montreal. Had I a month more to spare I would go to Boston, up the Kennebecke river, to Quebec and thence on. I will certainly see all that my time will admit of. It is possible I may lose my scalp from the temper of the Indians, but if either a little fighting or great deal of ruseing1 will save it [I] shall escape safe. I sit out up the no. river in very agreeable company, Mr. Vaughn and family are of the party. I am yr. affectn. frd.,

Jas Monroe

RC (DLC). Noted in SJL under 18 Sep. 1784 as received “some time this month,” a fact which clearly indicates that TJ was not in the habit of posting entries in SJL daily but occasionally allowed items to accumulate; the present letter was enclosed in that of Gates to 16 Aug. 1784.

1Monroe, Writings, ed. Hamilton, i, p. 38–9, gives this almost illegible word as “running,” which would be plausible were it not for the fact that such a reading imputes a greater degree of humor to Monroe than his letters usually displayed. The reading given above, a misspelling of an obsolete verb ruse, meaning to retreat, dodge, or detour, seems to fit both Monroe and the scrawl better.

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