James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 13 June 1789

To Thomas Jefferson

N. York. June 13th. 1789.

Dear Sir

The letter herewith enclosed from Col: H. Lee with the papers accompanying it fully explain themselves. Inclosed also is a letter from Mr. P. Carr, who has been here several weeks. One of his inducements to visit N. York during the present vacation, was a hope of falling in with you on your visit to America. I regret much both your disappointments. It is not yet in my power to say when the cause of Yours will be removed. Every step taken under the new System is marked with tardiness; the effect of that want of precedents which give a mechanical motion to business under old establishments.

To the above inclosures is added a chart of the Great falls copied from a draught sent me by Col: Lee. I should have observed that all the papers from him, except this are duplicates, the originals having been consigned by a conveyance from Alexanda. to the care of Mr. Mason who resides at Bourdeaux, to be forwarded to Paris.1

This will go by a Gentleman, Mr. Joy,2 who is returning to London, and will be forwarded by such opportunity as he may judge sufficiently certain. Considering it as likely to be long on the way, and having written pretty lately to you, I shall suspend further communications, till a more direct & convenient channel presents itself. The Newspaper inclosed will shew you the form and extent of the amendments which I thought it adviseable to introduce to the H. of Representatives as most likely to pass thro’ ⅔ of that Hs. & of the Senate & ¾ of the States.3 If I am not mistaken they will if passed, be satisfactory to majority of those who have opposed the Constitution. I am persuaded they will be so to a majority of that Description in Virginia. I wish you all happiness & am Dear Sir Yrs most affectly

Js. Madison Jr

RC (DLC). Docketed by Jefferson. The papers accompanying Lee’s letter to Jefferson have not been found (see n. 1).

1JM enclosed, in addition to the chart of the Great Falls, a copy of a letter from Lee to Jefferson, dated 6 Mar. 1789, asking Jefferson’s aid in raising money in Europe for a land speculation at the Great Falls of the Potomac, a power of attorney, and a promotional description of the falls written by JM (Lee to JM, 8 and 14 Mar. 1789; Lee to Jefferson, 6 Mar. 1789, Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (19 vols. to date; Princeton, 1950—). description ends , XIV, 619–20). The letter from Peter Carr, also enclosed, is dated 29 May 1789 (ibid., XV, 155–57).

2Probably George Joy, son of a Massachusetts loyalist who moved to London at the outbreak of the Revolution. Joy later became one of JM’s most prolific correspondents (Bradford Perkins, “George Joy, American Propagandist at London, 1805–1815,” New England Quarterly, XXXIV [1961], 191–210).

3At the bottom of the last page, JM wrote: “Note—Let the amendments follow.” If written at the time, this note apparently means that JM decided not to send the amendments in this letter. He enclosed them in his letter to Jefferson of 30 June.

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