James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Patrick Henry, 17 April 1784

From Patrick Henry

Leatherwood Apl. 17th. 1784

Dear Sir.

After so long Time had passed without hearing from you, Mr. Mazzei did me great pleasure in telling me you were well, & not averse to render stil further Services to our Country.1 Altho’ from the Length & Importance of those you have so happily accomplished some Respite might be demanded for the present, yet I must tell you I think several Matters of the greatest Moment forbid it. Is not the federal Goverment on a bad Footing? If I am not mistaken you must have seen & felt that it is. This is not the only Matter that wants Correction & Improvement. How mortifying is it to see a rich Harvest of Happiness, & Labourers wanting to gather it in?

I take my leave of you only ’til next month when I confide in seeing you at Richmond. Adeiu my dear Sir, I am yr. affectionate

P. Henry

RC (NjMoW: Lloyd C. Smith Collection). Addressed and marked “favr. Mr. Mazzie.” Docketed by JM. The probable docket page no longer accompanies the letter but is in DLC. It includes two additional endorsements, one by JM, “Jefferson Ths. (to Presdt. W.) June 4. 1793,” and a second in an unknown hand, “Ths. Jefferson Jan. 4. 1793.” No letter from Jefferson to JM on either of those dates is known to exist. JM probably used the page to docket a copy of Jefferson’s letter of 4 June 1793 to Washington (Jefferson to JM, 9 June 1793 [DLC]), and the unknown inscriber misread the date. An addendum to the original docket suggests a further correspondence, for JM later added a question mark after the date and his comment, “intimation from him thro’ Wm. Madison with answer of J. M.”

1Mazzei later reported his conversation with both Henry and JM in a letter to John Adams. A notorious flatterer, Mazzei spoke of JM as “One of the most noble, most sensible, and virtuous men on the Globe” (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 , VII, 124 n.).

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