Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 14 February [1800]

From James Madison

Orange Feby. 14. 99 [i.e. 1800]

Dear Sir

My last to you was from Richd. your last to me is just recd. covering the Bill for drawing Jurors by lot. The plan proposed by the Bill is a great improvement on the regulation in force here. I cannot say, whether it may have the same merit every where. This subject was not wholly forgotten during our late Session. A Bill was even prepared on it, by one of our State Judges. But subjects deemed more immediately interesting, diminished so much the attention of some whose agency in carrying it thro’ was essential, that the bill was never introduced.

We see by the late papers that a new scene is presented in the French Theatre, which leaves the denôuement more a problem than ever. The characters and professions of some of the leading actors furnish a hope that Monarchy may not be their object, but melancholy evidence appears that the destiny of the Revolution is transferred from the Civil to the military authority. Whether the lesson will have the proper effect here in turning the public attention to the danger of military usurpations or of intrigues between political & military leaders1 is more than I can say. A stronger one was perhaps never given, nor to a country more in a situation to profit by it. We have had for two weeks & more, snow on the ground from 15 to 20 inches deep, which has blockaded every body within his own doors. Adieu

I was a subscriber for Trumbull’s prints, which I find are now in America. Can you tell me when & how I am to get them. and what is to be pd. in addition to the payments at subscribing. I wish to know also whether they are to be delivered in frames.

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); with paragraph after closing written perpendicularly in the left margin; endorsed by TJ as received 22 Feb. 1800 and so recorded in SJL.


My last to you: Madison to TJ, 18 Jan. 1800. No letter from TJ covering the bill has been found or is recorded in SJL.

For the efforts in the late session to reform the Virginia jury system, see TJ to James Madison, 22 Nov. 1799. One of our state judges: St. George Tucker.

Trumbull’s prints: on 6 Dec. 1799 the House of Representatives accepted from John Trumbull prints of his two newly available history paintings, The Battle of Bunker Hill and The Death of General Montgomery at the Attack on Quebec. The Senate received them on 17 Dec. (Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States… Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , 10:16, 187, 193).

1Preceding seven words and ampersand interlined.

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