Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 5 October 1794

From James Madison

Harewood Ocr. 5. 1794.

Dear Sir

On my return to Orange I dropped you a few lines on the subject of the deer. On my way into this part of the Country I passed Col. John Thornton of Culpeper, who has a Park, and will spare you with pleasure two or three, if you can not be otherwise supplied. He thinks he could by advertizing a premium of 10 or 12 dollars a head procure from his neighbors as many fawns to be delivered at Monticello as you would want. If you chuse to make use of his assistance, a line to the care of Mr. Fontaine Maury at Fredg. would soon get to hand.

This will be handed to you by Mr. Bond who is to build a large House for Mr. Hite my brother in law. On my suggestion He is to visit Monticello not only to profit of examples before his eyes, but to ask the favor of your advice on the plan of the House. Mr. Hite particularly wishes it in what relates to the Bow-room and the Portico, as Mr: B. will explain to you. In general, any hints which may occur to you for improving the plan will be thankfully accepted. I beg pardon for being the occasion of this trouble to you, but your goodness has always so readily answered such draughts on it, that I have been tempted to make this additional one.

I write at present from the seat of Mr. G. Washington of Berkeley, where, with a deduction of some visits, I have remained since the 15th. Ult: the epoch at which I had the happiness to accomplish the alliance which I intimated to you I had been sometime soliciting. We propose to set out in 8 or 10 days for Philada. where I shall always receive your commands with pleasure, and shall continue to drop you a line as occasions turn up. In the mean time I remain yrs. mo: affecy

Js. Madison Jr

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); with line drawing of bow room on verso; endorsed by TJ as received 31 Dec. 1794 and so recorded in SJL.

Madison’s few lines of 1 Sep. 1794, recorded in SJL as received from Orange on 18 Sep. 1794, have not been found. In his early landscaping plans for Monticello TJ had set aside part of the estate for a Deer park, which he began to stock as early as 1771 and where he evidently relished feeding ears of Indian corn to the animals by hand. The site of the park changed over the years, its location and size at this time being recorded in TJ’s 1794 survey of the fields on the side of the mountain (MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 20 Sep. 1769, cash accounts, 1771, miscellaneous memoranda, and notes; Betts, Garden Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book, 1766–1824, Philadelphia, 1944 description ends , pl. xiii, facing 208).

Isaac Hite, the husband of Madison’s sister Nelly, was constructing Belle Grove in Frederick County, Virginia. As an architect TJ favored the use of the bow-room, a chamber with a semicircular or octagonal bay, but no such feature was used at Belle Grove and the extent of his contribution to the house’s final design is unclear (Frederick D. Nichols, “Belle Grove in the Developing Civilization of the Valley of Virginia,” Historic Preservation, xx, nos. 3–4 [1968], 8, 18n). The alliance accomplished on 15 Sep. 1794 was Madison’s marriage to Dolley Payne Todd (Brant, Madison description begins Irving Brant, James Madison, Indianapolis, 1941–61, 6 vols. description ends , iii, 410).

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