From James Madison
Sepr. 15. 1802
I have duly recd. yours of the 13th. I had been apprised of the application by the Mayor of N.Y. for a guard. Considering as you do, that the federal Govt. have only an incidental connection with the case of the French Negroes, I have waited for more particular information concerning them, before writing to Pichon, who I learnt from Mr. Brent, and also from himself, was exerting himself to get them away. His plan was to ship them to France, but he was at a loss for the means. I had my fears that if prematurely pressed on the subject, it might lead to applications for aid. The mail of tomorrow, I hope will bring me from Mr. Brent an answer to some enquiries which will assist in framing a proper letter to him.
I am sorry to learn that Col. Monroe is so soon to leave Albemarle with his family. I had assured myself that I should see him on our visit to his neighbourhood, as your letter intimated that he would not leave it till tuesday next. We propose to be with you, accompanied by Dr. Thornton his lady & her mother, on saturday evening, and still hope, that the oppy. may not be lost. It will add to the satisfaction, to find Bishop Madison as well as Mr. Short at Monticello. I shall direct a comission to be made out for Mr. Cary to take the place of Mr. Reynolds.
Yours as ever
RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President of the U. States.”; endorsed by TJ as received from the State Department at Orange on 16 Sep. and “guards for N.Y.” and so recorded in SJL.
I HAD BEEN APPRISED: Daniel Brent had sent Madison, on 7 Sep., a copy of Edward Livingston’s letter to Dearborn of 1 Sep. (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends ., 3:556).
AND ALSO FROM HIMSELF: the communication from Louis André Pichon has not been found. Brent’s letter of 7 Sep. informed Madison that “Mr Pichon intends, if he can effect it, to send the Ships and Negroes to France.” Pichon wrote to Madison from Frankfort, Pennsylvania, on 25 Sep., after his visit to New York. He assured Madison that the “prisonniers de couleur” would be transported to France. The French chargé instructed Louis Arcambal to collect information about any of the involuntary émigrés who escaped before the ships left the harbor (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , 3:555, 598–9).
WE PROPOSE TO BE WITH YOU: the Madisons, Thorntons, and Mrs. Ann Brodeau departed from Montpelier on the morning of 18 Sep. for a week-long stay at Monticello. Accompanied for 12 miles along the way by Bishop James Madison and his son, they arrived after dark because of bad roads and warm weather. According to Anna Maria Thorn ton’s diary, an approaching storm and the dangerous terrain prompted all of the party except for Mrs. Brodeau to walk the final three-quarters of a mile, with lightning illuminating their way and a violent thunderstorm commencing shortly after their arrival. Mrs. Thornton recorded her expectation of seeing Monticello as an “unfinished house” and her first impressions of “being much struck with the uncommon appearance & which the general gloom that prevailed contributed much to increase.” She described a place that had been “so frequently pulled down and rebuilt, that in many parts without sides it looks like a house going to decay” from the time it was built. Monticello had “a whimsical and a droll appearance” and she concluded there was “something grand and awful in the situation but far from convenient or in my opinion agreeable—it is a place you wou’d rather look at now and then than live at” (MS in DLC: Anna Maria Brodeau Thornton Papers; Irving Brant, James Madison: Secretary of State 1800–1809 [Indianapolis, 1953], 44).