James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 14 April 1783

From Thomas Jefferson

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Docketed by JM, “Tho. Jefferson Apl. 14. 1783.” Alongside this docket JM also wrote “April.” Using a new cipher which JM and Jefferson evidently had devised while they were together in Philadelphia, Jefferson encoded the words which are here italicized. This cipher will be designated hereafter as “JM-Jefferson Code No. 2.”

Susquehanna1 Apr. 14. 1783.

Dear Sir

Meeting at our quarters with a mr. Levi2 going to Philadelphia and having no other employment, I write by him just to say that all is well, and that having made our stages regularly & in time we hope to make better way than mr. Nash did.3 the Carolina letter bearer is here also.4 we pass one another two or three times a day. I never saw mr. Ingles5 to speak to him about my books. will you be so obliging as to make my acknowlegements to him for his undertaking & to ask him to send them to Richmond to the care of James Buchanan.6 be pleased to make my compliments affectionately to the gentlemen & ladies. I desire them to Miss Kit[t]y particularly7 Do you know that the ra[il]lery you sometimes experienced from our family8 strengthened by my own observation gave me hopes there was some foundation for it I wished it to be so as it would give me a neighbour9 whose worth I rate high [,] and as I know it will render you happier than you can possibly10 be in a singl[e] state I often made it the subject of conversation [,] more [,] exhortation with her and was able to convince my [self] that she possessed every sentiment in your favor which you could wish But of this no more without your leave

I am with much affection Dr. Sir Your sincere friend

Th: Jefferson

1Jefferson seems to have been writing from an inn at the “lower ferry” which crossed the Susquehanna River (Jefferson to JM, 31 Jan. 1783, and n. 3). See also JM to Randolph, 8 Apr. 1783, and n. 9.

2Unidentified, but the surname was that of several well-known merchants and lawyers at Philadelphia in 1783 (Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds., Pennsylvania Archives (9 ser., 138 vols.; Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949). description ends , 3d ser., XVI, 449, 470, 475, 494; Pa. Mag. Hist. and Biog., V [1881], 391; XVI [1892], 163; XLVI [1922], 284; Edwin Wolf, 2d, and Maxwell Whiteman, The History of the Jews in Philadelphia from Colonial Times to the Age of Jackson [Philadelphia, 1957], pp. 57–145 passim).

3Jefferson to JM, 14 Feb. 1783, 2d letter, and n. 46.

4Almost certainly the “Mr. Sitgreaves” who, on his way to North Carolina, had offered to carry to Richmond the letter of 10 April from the Virginia delegates to Governor Harrison (q.v., and n. 1) and a letter of the same date from JM to Randolph (q.v.).

5Samuel Inglis of Inglis and Company of Philadelphia (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (6 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , V, 150, n. 16; JM to Ambler, 12 Apr. 1783, n. 2; Pa. Mag. Hist. and Biog., V [1881], 335–39; XXVII [1903], 253; XXXVIII [1914], 384; LV [1931], 318; LXI [1937], 66, 396).

6For many years before his death in October 1787, James Buchanan was a prominent merchant-shipowner and proprietor of real estate in Richmond. Besides having the Virginia state government and Jefferson among his patrons, he was influential from 1779 until his death in arranging for the temporary quarters of the state officials in Richmond and in determining the sites and supervising the erection of the Capitol and other permanent public buildings in that town (Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , X, 317–20, 450; XII, 280–81; JCSV description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds., Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia (4 vols. to date; Richmond, 1931——). description ends , III, 207, 433–34, 591; McIlwaine, Official Letters description begins H. R. McIlwaine, ed., Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia (3 vols.; Richmond, 1926–29). description ends , II, 88, 316, and n. 236; Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (18 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , III, 18, 19 n.; VI, 127, 195, 321, 538; VII to IX passim; XI, 330, 333).

8That is, the residents of Mrs. Mary House’s boarding house.

9The air distance from Monticello to Montpelier is about twenty-five miles.

10Jefferson used the cipher 1071, meaning “possible.”

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