Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 3 March 1819

To James Madison

Monticello Mar. 3. 19.

Dear Sir

I promised your gardener some seeds which I put under a separate cover and address to you by mail. I also inclose you a letter from mr Cabell which will shew you that the ‘sour grapes’ of Wm & Mary are spreading; but certainly not to the ‘enlightened part of society’ as the letter supposes. I have sent him a transcript from our journals that he may see how far we are under engagements to Dr Cooper. I observe Ritchie imputes to you and myself opinions against Jackson’s conduct in the Seminole war. I certainly never doubted that the military entrance into Florida, the temporary occupation of their posts, and the execution of Arbuthnot & Ambrister were all justifiable. if I had ever doubted, P. Barber’s speech would have brought me to rights.1 I at first felt regret at the execution; but I have ceased to feel it on mature reflection, and a belief the example will save much blood. affectionately your’s.

Th: Jefferson

P.S. on my return I fell in with mr Watson who signed our proceedings.

RC (DLC: Madison Papers, Rives Collection); postscript adjacent to signature. PoC (DLC); on reused sheet with edge torn and one word rewritten by TJ; at foot of text: “Mr Madison”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: Joseph C. Cabell to TJ, 22 Feb. 1819.

On 25 Feb. 1819 Thomas ritchie, the editor of the Richmond Enquirer, reprinted an article from a Petersburg newspaper stating “that two characters whose political sentiments have hitherto always been regarded as the purest standard of Republicanism in this state, and whose public services will always be held in veneration, have most decidedly disapproved of the proceedings of Gen. Jackson in the Seminole war.”

Philip P. Barbour gave a lengthy speech vindicating American conduct in the Seminole War on 25 Jan. 1819 in the United States House of Representatives. It was printed in the Richmond Enquirer on 23 Feb. 1819 and in Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. (All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. Citations given below are to the edition mounted on the American Memory website of the Library of Congress and give the date of the debate as well as page numbers.) description ends , 15th Cong., 2d sess., 764–80.

our proceedings: Minutes of Central College Board of Visitors, 26 Feb. 1819.

1Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • Ambrister, Robert search
  • Arbuthnot, Alexander search
  • Barbour, Philip Pendleton; speech of on Seminole War search
  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; as member of Central College Board of Visitors search
  • Central College; professors for search
  • Central College Board of Visitors; Minutes of search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); and Central College search
  • Indians, American; Seminole search
  • Jackson, Andrew; W. Fla. campaign of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; A. Jackson’s W. Fla. campaign search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and A. Jackson’s W. Fla. campaign search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and seeds search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); as member of Central College Board of Visitors search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); letters to search
  • Pensacola, W. Fla.; seized by A. Jackson search
  • Richmond Enquirer (newspaper); T. Ritchie as editor of search
  • Ritchie, Thomas; as editor ofRichmond Enquirer search
  • Saint Marks, W. Fla. search
  • seeds; sent by TJ search
  • Seminole Indians search
  • Watson, David (1773–1830); as member of Central College Board of Visitors search
  • West Florida; A. Jackson’s campaign in search
  • William and Mary, College of; and state university for Va. search