Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 13 August 1820

To James Madison

Monticello Aug. 13. 20.

Dear Sir

I recieved yesterday the inclosed letter proposing to me an interposition which my situation renders impracticable. the gentlemen of my family have manifested at times some opposition to mr Nelson’s elections: which has produced an intermission of intercourse between the families: and altho’ I never took the smallest part in it, and nothing but what is respectful has ever passed between mr Nelson and myself, yet I cannot but feel the ground too suspicious to venture on the experiment proposed. and indeed the thing is so delicate that I know not whether any ground, however cordial, could render it safe: but of this you will be the best judge as to yourself, for which purpose I inclose you the letter. I suppose myself it is impossible that a Virginian can be elected and that mr N’s competition would only defeat Genl Smith’s election and ensure a Northern and unfriendly choice.

Our buildings at the University go on so rapidly, and will exhibit such a state and prospect by the meeting of the legislature that no one seems to think it possible they should fail to enable us to open the institution the ensuing year. I salute mrs Madison & yourself with constant affection & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of Charles Willson Peale to TJ, 10 Apr. 1820; at foot of text: “Mr Madison”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: Samuel Smith (of Maryland) to TJ, 2 Aug. 1820.

Madison’s missing reply to TJ of 19 Aug. 1820, which presumably covered the return of the above enclosure, is recorded in SJL as received four days later from Montpellier.

Index Entries

  • House of Representatives, U.S.; Speaker of search
  • Madison, Dolley Payne Todd (James Madison’s wife); TJ sends greetings to search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and construction of University of Virginia search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and Speaker of U.S. House of Representatives search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); letters from accounted for search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); letters to search
  • Nelson, Hugh; as candidate for Speaker of U.S. House of Representatives search
  • Nelson, Hugh; TJ’s family opposes election of search
  • Smith, Samuel (of Maryland); as candidate for Speaker of U.S. House of Representatives search
  • Virginia, University of; Construction and Grounds; progress of search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; and General Assembly search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search