James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 15 September 1784

To Thomas Jefferson

New York. Sepr. 15: 1784.

Dear Sir

In pursuance of my intentions as explained in my last dated in Philada. I came to this City on saturday last. The information I have here recd. convinces me that I can not accomplish the whole route I had planned within the time to which I am limited, nor go from this to Boston in the mode which I had reckoned upon. I shall therefore decline this part of my plan, at least for the present, & content myself with a trip to Fort Schuyler,1 in which I shall gratify my curiosity in several respects, & have the pleasure of the Marquis’s Company. We shall set off this afternoon in a Barge up the North River. The Marquis has recd. in this City a continuation of those marks of cordial esteem & affection which were hinted in my last. The gazettes herewith inclosed will give you samples of them.2 Besides the personal homage he receives, his presence has furnished occasion for fresh manifestation of these sentiments towards France which have been so well merited by her, but which her Enemies pretended would soon give way to returning affection for G. Britain. In this view a republication of those passages in the Gazettes of France may be of advantage to us. They will at least give a pleasure to the friends of the Marquis.

We have an account from Canada, how far to be relied on I can not say, that the Indians have surprised & plunderd fort Michellimackinac where the English had a great amt. of stores & Merchandize; and that they have refused to treat with Sr. Jno. Johnson. Being in danger of losing the conveyance by the packet which is just sailing I subscribe in haste Yrs sincerely

J. Madison Jr

The M. has shewn me a passage in his letter to the Ct. de V. in which he Sketches the idea relative to the Miss: he says he has not had time to dilate upon it, but that his next letter will do it fully.3

RC (DLC). Cover missing. Docketed by JM many years later. Headed, “No. 3.” The enclosures are missing.

1Fort Schuyler (on the site of present-day Rome, N. Y.) was often referred to by its prerevolutionary name, Fort Stanwix.

2The newspapers JM alluded to were undoubtedly the N. Y. Gazetteer issues of 24 Aug. and 14 Sept. 1784. The 24 Aug. edition carried a full column on Lafayette’s reception in Pennsylvania. The 14 Sept. issue tells of a dinner at Cape’s Tavern honoring the French hero. If JM attended this feast he had to drink thirteen toasts while well-wishers fired thirteen cannon salutes, and then listen to an effusive poem dedicated to their guest, who

“Dar’d ease and pleasures, friends and country fly,

 With us the rugged scenes of war to try,”

and finally drink a fourteenth toast to “The Marquis.”

3JM’s next sentence has been deleted. The first word appears to have been “His.” It is likely that JM made the deletion some years later, when he was more charitable toward Lafayette than in the autumn of 1784.

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