Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 23 October 1819

From James Madison

Montpr Ocr 23. 1819

Dear Sir

Your favor of the 18th which authenticates your convalescence was most welcome, & I thank you much for your kindness in relieving me from the anxieties which preceded it. Fortunately the first account we had of your illness was accompanied with some encouragement to hope that the crisis had been passed favorably; & this hope was fostered by the information of Col: P. Barbour on his return from the Court at Charlottesville. But our apprehensions were not entirely removed till the receipt of your letter, & that of Miss Ellen to Mrs M. Whilst I indulge the pleasure these have afforded, I must entreat that your health may be more a primary object, than you have hitherto allowed it to be. Your Constitution has been well tested, and you owe it to many considerations, to bestow on it the care which its remaining strength justly merits

The Sea-Kale seed from Gen: Cocke came safe to hand; for which I thank you both. Accept my thanks also for the French pamphlets.

I wish you most fervently a speedy re-establishment of your health, and every other blessing.

James Madison

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 29 Oct. 1819 and so recorded in SJL.

ellen W. Randolph (Coolidge) wrote to Dolley Madison from Monticello on 15 Oct. 1819 regretting her inability to reciprocate Mrs. Madison’s recent visit by coming to Montpellier with her mother, Martha Jefferson Randolph, and explaining that any such trip had been postponed due to “a close attendance upon my dear Grandfather, who after a sudden and violent attack, has been within this last two days, declared, by his Physicians, entirely out of danger. Although relieved from all present apprehensions on his account we cannot expect that at his age his recovery will be a very rapid one; some time must elapse before he regains his usual health & he has decided to give up all thoughts of a visit to Bedford for this season. His complaint was a violent and obstinate cholic lasting about thirty hours.  A Physician in whom we have great confidence, (Dr Watkins) has engaged that if Grandpapa will only stay at home and take care of himself, during this winter, that the return of warm weather, shall find him restored to the health he enjoyed, before his unfortunate visit to the Warm Springs. The first part of the prescription is practicable enough, but I much fear that he does not know how, to take care of himself, to be very attentive to his diet, to use less exercise, and to avoid all fatigue of body or mind & especially to give up letter-writing, are the points on which the doctor most insists.” She added that she still hoped to visit Montpellier “before the roads become impracticable” (RC in MCR-S: Mary Estelle Elizabeth Cutts Papers; printed in David B. Mattern and Holly C. Shulman, eds., The Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison [2003], 236–7).

The french pamphlets have not been identified.

Index Entries

  • Barbour, Philip Pendleton; visits Montpellier search
  • Cocke, John Hartwell (1780–1866); sends sea kale to TJ search
  • Coolidge, Ellen Wayles Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter); plans visit to Montpellier (Madison family estate) search
  • health; and warm springs search
  • health; colic search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; colic search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Travels; to Warm Springs search
  • kale; sea search
  • Madison, Dolley Payne Todd (James Madison’s wife); TJ’s granddaughter visits search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and TJ’s health search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); letters from search
  • Montpellier (Montpelier; J. Madison’s Orange Co. estate); visitors to search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); visits Montpellier search
  • seeds; kale, sea search
  • Warm Springs (Bath Co.); TJ visits search
  • Watkins, Thomas G.; as physician search