Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 22 June 1817

To James Madison

Monticello June 22. 17.

Dear Sir

In two packages, distinct from this letter, I return you your father’s meteorological diaries, which you were so kind as to lend me, and a piece on paper money recieved from you some time ago. from the former I have made out tables of rain and snow, and a calendar of animal and vegetable matters announcing the advance of seasons. having now compleated 7. years of observations since my return home, I have drawn such general results from them in the form of tables and otherwise, as may be comprehended1 by the mind, & retained by the memory. they constitute an estimate of our climate, the only useful object to which they can be applied. I inclose you a copy of both.2   I have for some time been very anxious to pay you a visit: but mrs Randolph wishing to join in it, and detained by the daily expectation of the measles appearing among her children, it has been put off until I am now within 2 or 3. days of setting out for my harvest in Bedford to be absent 3. weeks; and as I shall pass the months of Aug. & Sep. there, we must pay our visit in July, after the harvest is over. when here an observation fell from you once or twice which did not strike me at the time, but reflection afterwards led me to hope it had meaning; and that you thought of applying your retirement to the best use possible, to a work which we have both long wished to see well done, and which we thought at one time would have been done. my printed materials are all gone to Washington, but those in letters & notes & memms remain with me, are very voluminous, very full, and shall be entirely at your command. but this subject can be fathomed only in conversation, and must therefore await the visit.—we just learn the desperate situation of young Eston Randolph son of T. E. Randolph our neighbor; the two families being in their intercourse and relations almost as one, fills that of Monticello with affliction. he had just landed at Baltimore from an East India voyage. ever & affectionately yours.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: Madison Papers, Rives Collection); at foot of text: “James Madison”; endorsed by Madison. PoC (DLC); on verso of portion of reused address cover to TJ; damaged at seal and several words faint; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: TJ’s Analysis of his Weather Memorandum Book, Jan. 1817.

For the Madison family meteorological diaries returned here, see note to TJ’s Analysis of his Weather Memorandum Book, Jan. 1817. The piece on paper money was probably Madison’s 1779–80 essay on “Money,” described above at James Monroe to TJ, 26 Apr. 1815, where it was enclosed to TJ at Madison’s request. The work that TJ and Madison had long wished to see completed was probably a history of the United States from a Republican perspective. They had fruitlessly proposed such a project to Joel Barlow in 1802 (PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 40 vols. description ends , 37:400–1). William eston randolph, son of Thomas Eston Randolph, died 16 June 1817 in Baltimore (Baltimore Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser, 17 June 1817).

1Word interlined in place of “understood.”

2Preceding seven words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Barlow, Joel; proposed historical work by search
  • health; measles search
  • history; works of proposed search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; to Montpellier (Madison family estate) search
  • Madison, James (1723–1801); meteorological records of search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); letters to search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); Money (essay) search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); proposed historical work by search
  • measles search
  • meteorological observations; by J. Madison (1723–1801) search
  • meteorological observations; by TJ search
  • Money (essay by J. Madison) search
  • Montpellier (Montpelier; J. Madison’s Orange Co. estate); meteorological observations at search
  • Montpellier (Montpelier; J. Madison’s Orange Co. estate); TJ visits search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visits to search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); plans visit to Montpellier (Madison family estate) search
  • Randolph, Thomas Eston (TJ’s cousin); family of search
  • Randolph, William Eston; death of search
  • Republican party; historical work proposed from perspective of search
  • United States; history of proposed search
  • weather; in Va. search