James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Eliza House Trist, 27 January 1788

To Eliza House Trist

New York Jany. 27. 1788.

Yours of the 23d. instant by Mr. Jay has been delivered to me; but I have not yet been to thank him for it. I have had a cold which made me extremely hoarse, but did not otherw[ise] affect me much. At present I am clear even of that inconvenience. I hope this will find you equally recovered from your indisposition. I have not made a trial of my french with the Marchioness1 yet, thou[gh] I have seen her twice; nor shall I venture to do so. She s[peaks lit]tle of our language, and in that a sort of conversati[on …] up. Mr. Jefferson speaks of her as goodness itself; and […] fully repay him. She is extremely plain in her dress a[nd man]ners, and cannot fail when she becomes more familiar with our languag[e] to be agreeable to every body. Her person is very small; but [her] features are or perhaps have been pretty. We have had a [Con]gress since monday last. The Newspapers will have pro[claimed] Mr. C. Griffin as President. Your friend Col. Wadsworth [is a mem]ber and has been here about a week. I have not yet se[en] L. M.——s publication of which you give so flattering an account.2 It is impossible I think that he can be a very formidable [ad]versary to the Constitution; though he will certainly be a very noisy one. I had a letter a few days ago from Mr. Randolph.3 He w[as well] and said nothing as to Mrs. Randolph’s being otherwise. I expected another letter by the mail of Saturday but it is not yet arrived. As yet the new plan of Riders is less punctual than the Stages were.4 I do not find however that any of my letters miscarry altogether. Should it be the fate of this the loss will not be very great to you. Adieu

Js Madison Jr.

Mr. Duane is at present attending at Poughkeepsy as a member [of th]e Legislature.

RC (Owned by Dr. Frederick M. Dearborn, New York, N.Y., 1959). Addressed by JM. Where possible, words or letters missing owing to the deteriorated right margin of the Ms are supplied from conjecture by the editors and appear within brackets.

1Madame de Bréhan (Jefferson to JM, 8 Oct. 1787).

2Luther Martin’s address to the Maryland legislature, 29 Nov. 1787, published as The Genuine Information, Delivered to the Legislature of the State of Maryland, Relative to the Proceedings of the General Convention, Held at Philadelphia, in 1787 … (Philadelphia, 1788). It is reprinted in Farrand, Records description begins Max Farrand, ed., The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 (4 vols.; New Haven, 1911–37). description ends , III, 172–232.

3JM was possibly referring to a letter from Edmund Randolph of a later date than 3 Jan. 1788. If so, the letter has not been found.

4On 15 Oct. 1787 Congress had adopted a resolution authorizing the postmaster general “to contract for the transportation of the mail for the year 1788 by stage carriages or horses as he may judge most expedient and beneficial” (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXXIII, 684). See Henry Lee to JM, 14 Jan. 1788 and n. 4.

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