Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 4 April 1800

From James Madison

April 4. 1800

Dear Sir

Your favor by Mr. Trist was duly handed to me, since which I have recd. the report on imports under your cover, & yesterday your favor of the 25 Ult: accompanied with the pamphlet & Mr. Nicholas’s motion on the Electoral Bill, which appears to be so fair & pertinent, that a rejection of it in favor of any other modification proposed, must fix a new brand on the Authors. The spirit manifested in the Senate steadily, & in the other House occasionally, however mischievous in its immediate effects, cannot fail I think to aid the progress of reflection & change among the people. In this view our public malady may work its own cure, and ultimately rescue the republican principle from the imputation brought on it by the degeneracy of the public Councils. Such a demonstration of the rectitude & efficacy of popular sentiment, will be the more precious, as the late defection of France has left America the only Theatre on which true liberty can have a fair trial. We are all extremely anxious here to learn the event of the Election in N.Y. on which so much depends. I have nothing to add to what I have already said on the prospect with us. I have no reason whatever to doubt all the success that was expected. If it should fall in your way, you will oblige me by inquiring whether there be known in Philada. any composition for encrusting Brick that will effectually stand the weather; and particularly what is thought of common plaister thickly painted with white lead and overspread with sand. I wish to give some such dressing to the columns of my Portico, & to lessen as much as possible the risk of the experiment.

Affectionately yrs

Js. Madison Jr

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Vice President of the U States, Philadelphia”; endorsed by TJ as received 11 Apr. and so recorded in SJL.

Your favor by Mr. Trist: TJ to Madison, 4 Mch.

Report on imports: Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury Transmitting Two Statements; One Exhibiting the Value or Quantities of the Goods, Wares and Merchandize, Imported into the United States, in Ships or Vessels of the Said United States, for one Year prior to the First of October 1798, and the Other Exhibiting, in Like Manner, the Importations in Ships or Vessels of Foreign Nations, during the Same Period (Philadelphia, 1800; Evans, description begins Charles Evans, Clifford K. Shipton, and Roger P. Bristol, comps., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of all Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America from …1639 …to …1820, Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903–59,14 vols. description ends No. 38772).

James and Dolley Madison moved back into Montpelier in December 1798 even though the renovation to their home was far from finished. The front portico in the Tuscan order was added at this time but its brick pillars remained bare as late as 1804. It was not until 1809 that Madison received the formula for encrusting brick with stucco (Conover Hunt-Jones, Dolley and the “great little Madison” [Washington, D.C., 1977], 65; Brant, Madison description begins Irving Brant, James Madison, Indianapolis, 1941–61, 6 vols. description ends , 3:459; William Lewis to James Madison, 20 Feb. 1809, DLC: Madison Papers).

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