Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 9 October 1809

To James Madison

Monticello Oct. 9. 09.

Dear Sir

I recieved last night yours of the 6th & now return mr Dupont’s letter. at a time when I had a hope that Virginia would establish an University I asked of mr Dupont & Dr Priestly to give me their ideas on the best division of the useful sciences into Professorships: the latter did it concisely; but Dupont wrote an elaborate treatise on education which I still possess. after I saw that establishment to be desperate, & with it, gave up the view of making it the legatory of my library, I conceived the hope, & so mentioned to Dupont, that Congress might establish one at Washington. I think it possible that the willingness he expresses to contribute to the execution of his plan, may be by becoming President, or a professor. but this is conjecture only. the copy of Turgot’s works he has sent me will come best by the mailstage, if put into the care of any passenger of your acquaintance who may be coming as far as Fredericksburg, and will there get Benson to transfer the packet to the Milton stage. Jackson’s mountain will, I think produce but a mouse. the affairs of Walcheren & Spain may perhaps give him a little courage. the crop of corn turns out worse than was expected. there certainly will not be half a common crop. it’s scarcity and price will produce infinite distress. I set out in three days for Richmond, where I am summoned to be on the 20th.1 with my best respects to mrs Madison I am ever affectionately yours

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); closing and signature clipped. PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President of the US.”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours to Madison, 11 July 1809 (see note to Madison to TJ, 6 Oct. 1809).

In 1800 TJ asked Du Pont and Joseph Priestley to give me their ideas on the scientific courses to be taught at a university. Priestley responded with several pages of “Hints concerning Public Education” on 8 May 1800 [DLC]. Later that year Du Pont sent TJ his extended treatise Sur l’éducation nationale dans les États-Unis d’Amérique, which he published in Paris in 1812 (TJ to Priestley, 18 Jan. 1800, TJ to Du Pont, 12 Apr. 1800, and Du Pont to TJ, 24 Sept. 1800 [DLC]; Gilbert Chinard, ed., The Correspondence of Jefferson and Du Pont de Nemours [1930], xc–xcvii, 26–7; Malone, Jefferson description begins Dumas Malone, Jefferson and his Time, 1948–81, 6 vols. description ends , 3:448–51).

Recent newspaper accounts described the British occupation in July 1809 of the island of walcheren in preparation for an attack on Flushing and Antwerp and Sir Arthur Wellesley’s defeat of the French at the Battle of Talavera in spain (Washington National Intelligencer, 4, 6 Oct. 1809).

1RC clipped; remainder supplied from PoC.

Index Entries

  • Benson, John; Fredericksburg postmaster search
  • corn; at Monticello search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; letter to J. Madison search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; Sur l’éducation nationale dans les États-Unis d’Amérique search
  • Flushing (Netherlands) search
  • Fredericksburg, Va.; J. Benson (postmaster) search
  • Jackson, Francis James; British minister to U.S. search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; congressional library search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; university in Va. search
  • Library of Congress; TJ on search
  • Madison, Dolley Payne Todd (James Madison’s wife); TJ sends greetings to search
  • Madison, James; letters to search
  • Madison, James; letter to, from P. S. Du Pont de Nemours search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); corn crop at search
  • Oeuvres (A. R. J. Turgot) search
  • Priestley, Joseph; on university courses search
  • schools and colleges; and TJ’s plans for a university in Va. search
  • Sur l’éducation nationale dans les États-Unis d’Amérique (P. S. Du Pont de Nemours) search
  • The Netherlands; Battle at Flushing search
  • Turgot, Anne Robert Jacques; Oeuvres search
  • Walcheren Island; British invasion of search
  • Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of (formerly Viscount); Peninsular campaigns of search