Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 16 September 1801

From James Madison

Sepr. 16. 1801

Dear Sir,

The Messenger delivered me about 9 OC. on saturday evening the packet with your letters of Sepr. 11 & 12. I join in your opinion that the suspicions of Murray in the letters inclosed in the former are too harsh to be probable. Still his situation may produce feelings & views not coincident with ours, and strengthens the policy of getting the Chancellor on the ground as soon as possible. I hear nothing of the Boston frigate. Perhaps the mail of day may bring some account of her movements. I shall take care that no delay shall be chargeable on me; though I have been very little in a condition since I got home for close application of any sort. I have not been under the necessity of lying up, or renouncing current attentions, but have felt too much of the “Malaise” for any thing beyond them. I return the letters from S. Smith & B. and forward a letter from Dr. Thornton. I have one from him myself, which I shall answer by saying that on the receipt of M’s resignation you had fixt on a successor, and closed the door to further applications. I find that the idea of H’s appointment had leaked out, and that his pretensions were not regarded by the Docr. as a bar to his own. I inclose also a letter from F. Preston which speaks itself, the object of the Writer. I believe him to be a man of worth, of good understanding, and in a position to have some knowledge of Indian affairs. With these qualifications he might be a fit Associate of Hawkins & Wilkinson, should Pickens decline & his being a Virginian be no objection. I have with me Mr. Davis of N.Y. whom I presume to be the candidate for an office in that City. As he has but just arrived I have not had conversation eno’ with him to find out whether he means to visit Monticello. I conjecture that to be his primary object. He brings me an introduction from Ed. Livingston & from him only.

Yours always most affectionately & respectfully

James Madison

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President of the U.S.”; endorsed by TJ as received 17 Sep. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Samuel Harrison Smith to TJ, 4 Sep. (2) Aaron Burr to TJ, 4 Sep. (3) William Thornton to TJ, 8 Sep. (recorded in SJL as received 17 Sep. with notation “Off,” but not found), which was enclosed in Thornton to Madison, also of the 8th, soliciting an appointment as U.S. treasurer in the wake of Samuel Meredith’s resignation (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins J. C. A. Stagg, ed., The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, Charlottesville, 1986–, 8 vols. description ends , 2:92–3). (4) Francis Preston to Madison, 2 Sep., learning that William R. Davie has declined an appointment to negotiate with the southern Indians, he offers himself for the job in the event that Andrew Pickens also declines the appointment and a more qualified candidate fails to apply (same, 2:80).

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