James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Henry Lee, 17 December 1788

From Henry Lee

Alexa. Decr. 17h. 88

My dear sir

I had presumed from the decision you have taken of standing for your district, that I might have seen you here before I left this town, But as the hour of my departure is approached & my expectation baffled, I now transmit to you for your satisfaction a plot of the canal with Col. Gilpins (one of the potomack companys directors) observations.

This gentleman speaks from personal knowledge & actual surveys—my copy is not strickly literal, but comports truely with the intention & spirit of the original.

It appears to me that these observations being properly dressed & put into the American monthly magazines with the plot would be entertaining to all readers & beneficial to us.1

You are known to some few as part owner of the place—& I beleive that those who esteem you, are pleased with the choice you have made.

But 17 miles from the spot to this town—this was never before known to me & appretiates the place in proportion to the real being shorter than the computed distance.

I thank you for the fruit trees. They arrived a few days ago.

Mrs. Burrs grape vines are not come. Can you contrive to obtain the accomplishment of the ladys promise. Yours affy.

Henry Lee

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM. Enclosure not found, but see n. 1.

1Lee had already sent this letter and its enclosure before meeting with JM, who arrived in Alexandria on 18 Dec. At this meeting JM agreed to write some remarks, based on Colonel Gilpin’s observations, describing the advantages of the Great Falls location as a commercial entrepôt and manufacturing town (Lee to JM, 14 Jan. 1789; Remarks on the Situation at Great Falls, post 14 Jan. 1789 and n.),

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