James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 3 July 1792

From Thomas Jefferson

Philadelphia July 3. 1792.

Dear Sir

No. 6.

Since my last of June 29. I have received your Nos. 2. & 3. of June 24. & 25. The following particulars occur. Vining has declined offering at the next election. It is said we are to have in his room a mr. Roach,1 formerly of the army, an anti-cincinnatus, and good agricultural man. Smith of S. C. declines also. He has bought a fine house in Charleston for 5000. £ and had determined not even to come to the next session. But his friends it is said have made him promise to come. One gentleman from S. Carolina says he could not be re-elected. Another says there could be no doubt of his re-election. Commodore Gillon is talked of as his successor. Izard gives out that it is all false that mr. Smith is so rich as has been pretended, that he is in fact poor, cannot afford to live here, & therefore has retired to Charleston. Some add that he has entered again at the bar. The truth seems to be that they are alarmed, & he driven out of the feild, by the story of the modern Colchis.2 His furniture is gone off from hence. So is mr. Adams’s. Some say he declines offering at the next election. This is probably a mere conjecture founded on the removal of his furniture. The most likely account is that mrs. Adams does not intend to come again, & that he will take private lodgings. It seems nearly settled with the Tresorio-bankites that a branch shall be established at Richmond. Could not a counter-bank be set up to befriend the Agricultural man by letting him have money on a deposit of tobo. notes, or even wheat, for a short time, and would not such a bank enlist the legislature in it’s favor, & against the Treasury bank? The President has fixed on Thursday the 12th. for his departure, & I on Saturday the 14th. for mine. According to the stages I have marked out I shall lodge at Strode’s on Friday the 20th. and come the next morning, if my horses face Adams’s mill hills3 boldly, to breakfast at Orange C. H. and after breakfast will join you. I have written to mr. Randolph to have horses sent for me on that day to John Jones’s4 about 12 miles from your house, which will enable me to breakfast the next day (Sunday) at Monticello. All this however may be disjointed by unexpected delays here, or on the road. I have written to Dr. Stewart & Ellicot to procure me renseignements on the direct road from Georgetown to Elkrun church5 which ought to save me 20. or 30. miles. Adieu my dear Sir. Your’s affectionately

Th: Jefferson

P. S. I shall write you again a day or two before I leave this.

RC (DLC); FC, Tr (DLC: Jefferson Papers). RC addressed by Jefferson to JM at Orange, “to the care of mr. Maury / Fredericksburg.” Docketed by Jefferson: “Opened by Th: J.”

1Probably Isaac Roach, who served as a captain of Pennsylvania troops during the Revolution (DAR Patriot Index, p. 573).

2Colchis was the ancient country, on the shores of the Black Sea, that in Greek mythology lost the Golden Fleece to Jason and the Argonauts. Presumably Jefferson alluded to the New York financial panic precipitated by the failure of William Duer in March. William Loughton Smith had speculated heavily in government securities and during the summer of 1792 contemplated leaving political office. He changed his mind after the death of his wife in September and kept his House seat until 1797 (Rogers, Evolution of a Federalist, pp. 236–37).

3Jefferson alluded to the ridge in the Southwestern Mountains that he crossed on the route from John Strode’s residence in Culpeper County to Orange Court House (Bishop James Madison, A Map of Virginia [Richmond, 1807]; Jefferson, “Distances from the ferry landing opposite George town,” 1801–9 [DLC: Jefferson Papers]).

4John Jones was a captain of the Albemarle militia when Jefferson was the county lieutenant in 1776 (Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (20 vols. to date; Princeton, 1950—). description ends , I, 665).

5Elk Run Church, a small community in southeastern Fauquier County, was by the road system in the nineteenth century about sixty-eight miles from Georgetown (Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson, The Fry & Jefferson Map of Virginia and Maryland [1794; Charlottesville, Va., 1966 reprint]; Martin, Gazetteer of Virginia, p. 172).

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