James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 24 July 1797

From Thomas Jefferson

Monticello July 24. 97.

Th: J. to J. M.

In hopes that mrs. Madison & yourself & miss Madison will favor us with a visit when Colo. Monroe calls on you,1 I write this to inform you that I have had the Shadwell & Secretary’s ford both well cleaned. If you come the lower road, the Shadwell ford is the proper one. It is a little deepened, but clear of stone & perfectly safe. If you come the upper road you will cross at the Secretary’s ford, turning in at the gate on the road soon after you enter the three notched road. The draught up the mountain that way is steady, but uniform. I see Hamilton has put a short piece into the papers in answer to Callender’s publication, & promises shortly something more elaborate.2 I am anxious to see you here soon, because in about three weeks we shall begin to unroof our house,3 when the family will be obliged to go elsewhere for shelter. My affectionate respects to the family. Adieu.

FC (DLC: Jefferson Papers).

1Monroe spent most of the summer in New York and Philadelphia. He did not return to Virginia until the end of August 1797 (Ammon, James Monroe, pp. 160–63).

2Hamilton’s “short piece” was his letter to John Fenno of 6 July in the Philadelphia Gazette of the U.S. (8 July) denying the allegations made by James Thomson Callender that Hamilton had engaged in improper or illegal speculation while he was secretary of the treasury. Callender made the charges in two pamphlets, no. 5 (published 26 June) and no. 6 (published before 7 July), that were included in a volume called The History of the United States for 1796; Including a Variety of Interesting Particulars Relative to the Federal Government Previous to That Period (Philadelphia, 1797; Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … 1639 … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). description ends 31906). Hamilton’s promise for “something more elaborate” was fulfilled by the publication of his Observations on Certain Documents Contained in No. V & VI of “The History of the United States for the Year 1796” in Which the Charge of Speculation against Alexander Hamilton, Late Secretary of the Treasury, is Fully Refuted. Written by Himself (Philadelphia, 1797; Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … 1639 … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). description ends 32222). Hamilton defended himself against the charges of speculation by admitting to adultery (see also the introductory note to Oliver Wolcott, Jr., to Hamilton, 3 July 1797, in Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (27 vols.; New York, 1961–87). description ends , 21:121–44).

3Jefferson began to rebuild Monticello in 1794, but it was a slow process. As Jefferson described it in April 1797: “About midsummer we take the roof off of the whole of our house, except two rooms where I shall stay myself, and my family will be obliged to go elsewhere for shelter.” Workmen did not finish this task until early 1798 (Jefferson to Elizabeth House Trist, 9 Apr. 1797 [ViU: Jefferson Papers]; Jack McLaughlin, Jefferson and Monticello: The Biography of a Builder [New York, 1988], p. 262).

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