James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 24 August 1797

To Thomas Jefferson

Augst. 24. 1794 [1797]1

Dear Sir

The inclosed letter for Mr. B.2 came to my hands last week; but not till the opportunity by the then mail was lost. I hear nothing of Monroe but thro’ the Newspapers containing his correspondence with Pickering.3 As that appears to have been closed on the 31st. of last month, I am in hourly expectation of seeing him. I am also without any late information with respect to the progress of the Committee on Blount’s & Liston’s Conspiracy. Dawson wrote me some time ago4 “that they were going on well, & that he had well grounded reasons, which he could not communicate by letter, to say, that they should bring in some large fish.” It is much to be wished none of this description may escape; tho’ to be feared that they will be most likely to do so. Mrs. M. offers her respects to the ladies, & joins in my inclinations to visit Monticello; but I am so compleatly plunged into necessary occupations of several kinds, that I can[not] positively decide that we shall have that pleasure. Yrs affecly.

Js. Madison Jr

RC (DLC). Addressed by JM to Jefferson at Monticello and franked. Cover dated “24th. Augt. 97.” Docketed by Jefferson, “recd Aug. 25.” Dated 24 Aug. 1795 in Madison, Letters (Cong. ed.) description begins [William C. Rives and Philip R. Fendall, eds.], Letters and Other Writings of James Madison (published by order of Congress; 4 vols.; Philadelphia, 1865). description ends , 2:59 (see n. 1).

1JM’s original date of 24 Aug. 1794 was later changed to 1795. But the letter is addressed to Jefferson as vice president of the U.S., and internal evidence indicates the year 1797.

2Probably John Bringhurst (see JM to Jefferson, 2 Aug. 1797).

3The opening shot of the newspaper war between Monroe and Pickering was the former’s 6 July letter requesting the secretary of state to provide him with the reasons for his recall from France. Pickering’s refusal (17 July) to comply with this request provoked a bitter public exchange of letters. Monroe broke off the correspondence 31 July and began to write a defense of his conduct, which was completed in November and published late in 1797 as A View of the Conduct of the Executive, in the Foreign Affairs of the United States, Connected with the Mission to the French Republic, during the Years 1794, 5, & 6. By James Monroe, Late Minister Plenipotentiary to the Said Republic: Illustrated by His Instructions and Correspondence and Other Authentic Documents (Philadelphia, 1797; Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … 1639 … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). description ends 32491). The complete correspondence was published in the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 4 Aug. 1797.

Index Entries