James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 22 January 1785

To Thomas Jefferson

Richmond Jany. 22 1785.

Dear Sir

I have remained here since the adjournment of the Assembly cheifly with a view of gaining from the Office of the Attorney some insight into the juridical course of practice. This has given me an opportunity of forwarding you 6 copies of the revisal with a few of the late Newspapers under the cover which incloses this.1 They will go in a vessel belonging to Mr. Alexander the Gentleman who resides in this State as Tobo. Agent for the Farmers Genl.2 He assures me that due care shall be taken of them.…

RC (DLC). Cover missing. Docketed by Jefferson and dated by JM. The lower portion of the letter has been cut away, a circumstance which led one scholar to suggest that JM was responsible for the mutilation because the lost sentences may have related to JM’s unflattering view of Lafayette (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, 615 n.).

1The enclosures included a report from the Committee of Revisors which JM had been instrumental in publishing. He presented the resolution on 29 May 1784 to the General Assembly calling for publication and distribution of the report.

2The vessel was owned by William Alexander, who had moved to Richmond in the summer of 1784 and established a tobacco firm with international connections (Rutland, Papers of George Mason, I, xxx–xxxi). As an agent for the Farmers-General, Alexander consigned tobacco to the French monopoly which Virginians resented because it “stood in the way of an expanded import of American tobacco into France” (Bingham Read, “Franco-American Tobacco Diplomacy, 1784–1860,” Maryland Historical Magazine, LI [1956], 273–75).

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