Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 6 March 1819

From James Madison

Montpr Mar. 6. 1819

Dear Sir

Your favor of Mar. 3. came safe to hand, with the seeds you were so kind as to send with it

I return Mr Cabell’s letter. I hope his fears exaggerate the hostility to the University; tho’ if there should be a dearth in the Treasury, there may be danger from the predilection in favor of the popular Schools. I begin to be uneasy on the subject of Cooper. It will be a dreadful shock to him if serious difficulties should beset his appointment. A suspicion of them even will deeply wound his feelings and may alienate him from his purpose. I understand that a part of his articles are packed up to be in readiness for his removal.

I had noticed the liberty taken by the press with my opinion as well as yours, as to the conduct of Genl Jackson. I certainly never said any thing justifying such a publication, or any publication. In truth I soon perceived that both the legality & the expediency of what was done, depended essentially on all the circumstances; and this information I do not even yet fully possess, having not read the documents, and part only of the debates, which give different shades at least to the facts brought into view. As far as I have taken any part in conversations, I have always expressed the fullest1 confidence in the patriotism2 of his views, that if he sd have erred in any point,3 the error ought not to be separated from that merit, & that no one could thoroughly appreciate the transactions without putting himself precisely in his situation. I believe I expressed also in a few lines answering a letter from a friend, my regret that the question in Congs could not take some turn that would satisfy the feelings of the Genl and the scruples of his friends & admirers.

The paper from Detroit which you will see is from Woodward, came to me by mistake, with one directed to me. I enclose it as a more certain conveyance than the newspaper mail.

truly & affecty yours

James Madison

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 11 Mar. 1819 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Frederick C. Schaeffer, 7 Jan. 1820, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson near Charlottesville Virginia”; franked; postmarked Orange Court House, 8 Mar. Dft (DLC: Madison Papers, Rives Collection); unsigned. Enclosure: Joseph C. Cabell to TJ, 22 Feb. 1819. Other enclosure not found.

In reply to a 7 Feb. 1819 letter from President James Monroe, six days later Madison wrote him a few lines on Congress and Andrew Jackson (Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., 1:409–10, 415).

1Preceding two words interlined in Dft in place of “a full.”

2Word interlined in Dft in place of “purity.”

3Preceding three words interlined in Dft.

Index Entries

  • Cabell, Joseph Carrington; as member of University of Virginia Board of Visitors search
  • Congress, U.S.; and A. Jackson’s W. Fla. campaign search
  • Cooper, Thomas (1759–1839); University of Virginia professorship proposed for search
  • Detroit, Mich. Territory; newspaper from search
  • Jackson, Andrew; W. Fla. campaign of search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and A. Jackson’s W. Fla. campaign search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and seeds search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and T. Cooper search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); as member of University of Virginia Board of Visitors search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); letters from search
  • Monroe, James; and J. Madison search
  • newspapers; in Detroit search
  • seeds; sent by TJ search
  • Virginia, University of; Administration and Financial Affairs; funding for search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; T. Cooper as proposed professor search
  • Virginia; treasury of search
  • West Florida; A. Jackson’s campaign in search
  • Woodward, Augustus Elias Brevoort; sends Detroit newspaper search