Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 20 September 1790

To James Madison

Monticello Sep. 20. 1790.

Dear Sir

Your servant now returns with many thanks for the aid of him and your horses. I was disappointed of meeting my family here: however I am told they will arrive today. I wished to have seen Mr. Randolph, before the departure of your servant to know if he had found a horse for me; because if he has not I should determine to accept the offer of yours. I drove him about eight miles in the Phaeton, and he did as well as the awkwardness of so new a situation to him gave me right to expect. If Mr. Randolph should not have been succesful in his enquiries, I will send to you for the horse immediately. Notwithstanding your observing ‘we should not differ about the price,’ I know nobody with whom it is so difficult to settle a price, and with whom I should be so likely to differ. Witness the money disputes on our journey. As I would not chuse to trust to your setting a price therefore, I should propose your getting a Capt. Wood or some such good judge to do you justice. But of this more if I send for the horse. Adieu, my dear Sir. Your’s affectionately,

Th: Jefferson

PrC (MHi).

On 23 Sep. 1790 TJ wrote to Madison: “Mr. Randolph arrived last night without having been able to get me a horse, or even to hear of one which he could approve of. Presuming you had made up your mind as to parting with yours, I take the liberty of sending for him. I should not hesitate to take him at your own price but that I apprehend you think him of less than his real value, and therefore propose that you should have him valued. If there be no urgency, I should propose to pay you the money not till our return to Philada., perhaps not till the receipt of our December quarter, as the arrival of my furniture from Paris, and commencing housekeeping will perhaps call for my previous resources. But this need make no difficulty.—We shall count on seeing you here about our next court and hope you will make some stay. The time and plan of our return may be then arranged. Adieu. Your’s affectionately, Th: Jefferson” (RC in DLC: Madison Papers; PrC in MHi). Madison replied to this the next day: “I received yours of the 23 inst: by the bearer who now returns with the Horse. I will consult with some persons who are acquainted with him and let you know the price I set on him. The time and place of payment which you propose would suit me as well as immediate payment here: but I consider this credit as a necessary set off against advances which you will have made for me in France. If no obstacles not at present in view stand in the way, I shall have the pleasure of seeing Monticello a day or so before your next Court. My father sends the promised seed of the Mountain Cresses. Yours mo: affecty., Js. Madison Jr.” (RC in DLC: Madison Papers; endorsed as received 24 Sep. 1790 and so recorded in SJL).

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