Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 17 May 1814

To James Madison

Monticello May 17. 14.

Dear Sir

The inclosed paper came to me for I know not what purpose; as it came, just as you see it, without a scrip of a pen: perhaps that I might join in the sollicitation. Augustus Chouteau, the first signer, I always considered as the most respectable man of the territory, and the more valuable as he is a native. of the other signers I know nothing; and I know how easy it is to get signers to such a paper, and that no man possesses that art more perfectly than the one recommended. he must have changed character much if he is worthy of it. I remember we formed a very different opinion of him; and I think he was removed for faction and extortion or champerty from some office he held; either that of Attorney for the US. or of land Commissioner, or something of that sort. perhaps you will recollect it better than I do. it is probable you have recieved such a paper; but lest you should not, I send you this. We learnt your arrival at home about a week ago. I was then, as I am now, on the point of setting out to Bedford, delayed from day to day for a carriage daily promised. my present prospect is to set out in two days. this will prevent my intruding a visit on you during your present stay at Montpelier, and the rather as I am sensible that all visits must be inconveniently intrusive on the objects which bring you home. I sincerely congratulate you on the success of the loan, and wish that resource may continue good. I have not expected it could be pushed very far, from the unfortunate circumstance of our circulating medium being delivered over to enrich private adventurers at the public expence, when in our own hands it might have been made a competent supplement to our other war resources. mrs Randolph joins me in friendly respects to mrs Madison. mr Randolph is at Varina. ever affectionately yours

Th: Jefferson

I have this moment been called on for Wynne’s life of Jenkins, & find it not in the library. the last I remember of it was the carrying it to Washington for your use while engaged on the subject of neutral rights. I suspect therefore it may still be in the Office of state. can you recollect, or will you be so good as to enquire after it. I have re-opened my letter to state this.

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); beneath signature: “The President of the US.”; postscript on verso; endorsed by Madison. PoC (DLC); lacking postscript; endorsed by TJ, with additional notation: “Specht Genl.” Enclosure: petition by “Members of the General assembly of the Territory of Missouri” to Madison and the United States Senate, 5 Dec. 1813, certifying “that from a Knowledge of the uprightness, talents and ability of Rufus Easton Esquire of the Town of St Louis, formed on a personal acquaintance, we believe him a character eminently qualified for the office of a Judge for this Territory,” and recommending his appointment (MS in DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17, in a clerk’s hand, signed by Auguste Chouteau and fourteen other legislators, with two additional signatures on separate sheets; Tr in same, with all seventeen signatories; certified in Saint Louis, 10 Dec. 1813, by Marie Pierre Le Duc, notary public, with his notarial seal; Tr in same, with original fifteen signatories; printed in Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 14:716–7).

In 1805 Easton had been charged with fraud. Although he was acquitted, neither TJ nor Madison reappointed him to the office of judge of the territorial superior court (Lawrence O. Christensen and others, eds., Dictionary of Missouri Biography [1999], 271–2). William wynne’s work was The Life of Sir Leoline Jenkins, 2 vols. (London, 1724; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 374).

Index Entries

  • Chouteau, Augustus; recommends R. Easton search
  • Congress, U.S.; loans contracted by search
  • Easton, Rufus; charged with fraud search
  • Easton, Rufus; seeks territorial judgeship search
  • Easton, Rufus; TJ on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; loans books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Le Duc, Marie Pierre; as notary search
  • Madison, Dolley Payne Todd (James Madison’s wife); M. J. Randolph sends greetings to search
  • Madison, Dolley Payne Todd (James Madison’s wife); TJ sends greetings to search
  • Madison, James; and appointments search
  • Madison, James; and neutral rights search
  • Madison, James; borrows books from TJ search
  • Madison, James; letters to search
  • Madison, James; visits Montpellier search
  • Missouri Territory; judgeship in search
  • Montpellier (Montpelier; J. Madison’s Orange Co. estate); J. Madison at search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); sends greetings to D. Madison search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); visits Varina search
  • The Life of Sir Leoline Jenkins (W. Wynne) search
  • Varina (T. M. Randolph’s Henrico Co. estate); T. M. Randolph visits search
  • War of1812; U.S. financing of search
  • Wynne, William; The Life of Sir Leoline Jenkins search