Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 25 October 1819

From James Madison

Montpellier 1 Ocr 25. 1819

Dear Sir

I recd a few days ago the two inclosed letters one from Mr Hackley, the other from the Botanical professor at Madrid: the latter accompanied by the three little pamphlets also inclosed, and by thirty specimens of wheat, with four of Barley, and between 2 & 300 papers of the seeds referred to as “rariora Horti Botan: Matritensis.” The Wheats & Barleys2 notwithstanding the numerous varieties, I will endeavor to have sowed. The Garden seeds which probably include many which would be very acceptable to a Botanical Professor at the University, if we had one, I am at a loss what to do with. I know not that I can do better with them, than to give you an opportunity of inspecting their names, and with the aid of Mr Randolph, judging how far any of them ought to be kept for the University, and into what hands the others can best be disposed of. They are therefore herewith also inclosed. Be so good as to return the two letters. Mr Randolph perhaps may be willing to look into the pamphlets which he will best understand and appreciate.

Affectionate respects

James Madison

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 29 Oct. 1819 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Richard S. Hackley to Madison, Madrid, 23 May 1819, introducing Mariano La Gasca y Segura, the director of the Real Jardín Botánico, Madrid; advising that he will be sending a collection of specimens from that garden to his wife, Harriet Hackley, who will forward it from Richmond to Montpellier; explaining that in an enclosed letter La Gasca expresses his desire for interaction with the Agricultural Society of Albemarle; reporting that La Gasca will come to the United States if he can be assured of a professorship either in Latin, French, or Spanish, or in botany; asking that La Gasca’s interest in a professorship be kept private; and adding in a 29 June 1819 postscript that John Forsyth, the American minister to Spain, has forwarded the packet and also believes that La Gasca would be “a great acquisition” to the faculty of the University of Virginia (RC in DLC: Madison Papers; printed in Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., 1:461–3). (2) La Gasca to Madison, 9 Apr. 1819, not found except for an extract in which La Gasca asks that, in return for the seeds enclosed, he be sent a variety of North American seeds, primarily of trees and of composite, gramineous, umbelliferous, and scabious plants; specifying that he very much desires dried specimens of the umbellifers whose flowers and fruits André Michaux and others described, and which would enable La Gasca to perfect some new, very difficult methods on which he has long been working (Tr of extract subjoined to RC of preceding enclosure; in Madison’s hand; in Latin; endorsed by Madison: “From Don Marianus La Gasca Director of the Royal Botanic Garden at Madrid: who is desiorous of a correspondence & interchanges with the professors of the Natural Sciences in N. America. He is recommended in high terms by Mr Hackley”; extract printed in Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., 1:462n).

The enclosed three little pamphlets have not been found. rariora horti botan: matritensis: “rare species from the Botanical Gardens of Madrid.”

A missing letter from Madison to TJ of 5 Nov. 1819 is recorded in SJL as received eight days later.

1Manuscript: “Montpeller.”

2Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Agricultural Society of Albemarle; and foreign correspondents search
  • barley; from Spain search
  • crops; barley search
  • Forsyth, John; as minister plenipotentiary to Spain search
  • Hackley, Harriet Randolph (Richard S. Hackley’s wife); forwards seeds search
  • Hackley, Richard Shippey; corresponds with J. Madison search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • La Gasca y Segura, Mariano; seeks professorship in U.S. search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and seeds search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); letters from search
  • Michaux, André; catalogues American trees search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); and Agricultural Society of Albemarle search
  • seeds; barley search
  • seeds; sent to TJ search
  • seeds; wheat search
  • Spain; Real Jardín Botánico search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; faculty applicants search