James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, [13 March] 1791

To Thomas Jefferson

[13 March 1791]

My dear Sir

Your first proposition having been arranged, I have only in answer to your last to acknowledge that I feel all the inducements you suggest & many more to be in a situation where your society would make a part of my hourly enjoyments. In making the sacrifice therefore you will be assured that the circumstances which determine me are unaffected. My stay here is so uncertain & limited that a removal would scarcely be justified by it. I am just settled in my harness for compleating the little task I have allotted myself.1 My papers and books are all assorted, around me. A change of position would necessarily give some interruption—& some trouble on my side whatever it might do on yours. Add that my leaving the house at the moment it is entered by the new member might appear more pointed than may be necessary or proper. As the weather grows better I shall however avail myself of it, to make some amends to myself, for what I lose in yielding to these circumstances, by seeing you more & using oftener one of your plates; Being never more happy than in partaking that hour of unbent conversation, and never more sincere than in assuring you of the affection with wch. I am Yrs.

J. Madison Jr

RC (DLC). Addressed by JM. Docketed by Jefferson, “recd. Mar. 13.” Late in life JM erroneously added “1790,” and thus the letter is filed under that date. The contents leave no doubt, however, that it is a reply to Jefferson’s note of this day.

1JM was probably engaged in correcting and adding to his manuscript of the debates of the Federal Convention, a task that became necessary after comparing it with the manuscript journal of the convention, which he had copied in the autumn of 1789 (PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77; vols. 11—, Charlottesville, Va., 1977—). description ends , X, 7–8).

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