James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 29 March 1805

From Thomas Jefferson

Monticello Mar. 29. 05.

Dear Sir

Your packet came to hand yesterday with the letters of Monroe,1 Armstrong2 Coburn,3 Zeigler4 & Baldwin.5 Altho’ I presume the appointment of Baldwin would be proper, yet as Zeigler continues to act, it may lie awhile. I inclose you a letter from a mr. Thomas of Indiana6 inclosing a proclamation of Govr. Harrison and the names of 10. persons out of whom 5 are to be named as Counsellors. Who he is I know not, nor does he say. Whether he is in any office, & whether his communication is official or private, whether this is the formal communication on which I am to act, is the question. Perhaps this may be found out at Washington. If it is official & requires immediate action, be so good as to consult with the other gentlemen & name the 5. who are to be commissioned. Armstrong’s stile of correspondence is satisfactory. But he is already forgetful of the temper of his country, & proves how readily we catch the hue of those around us. I have recieved a short letter from Fayette saying only that he had committed a long one to Livingston explaining his purposes & situation, & covering the power of Attorney which I now inclose.7 I had thought the 600. as. on the Canal of Carondelet too valuable to await this instrument, & had desired Claiborne to have it located and surveyed immediately and to draw on me for the expence. What has passed shall be communicated to you on my return. Dupont writes me that he will be over in the spring8 & probably La fayette with him. Accept affectionate salutations.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC); FC (DLC: Jefferson Papers).

1JM may have enclosed Monroe’s letter of 19 Jan. 1805, PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (9 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 8:492–93.

2Armstrong to JM, 30 Dec. 1804, ibid., 428–30; DLC: Jefferson Papers, Epistolary Record.

6The letter has not been found, but on 28 Mar. 1805 Jefferson received a 1 Mar. 1805 letter from Jesse B. Thomas of Lawrenceburg, Indiana. A native of Virginia, Thomas (1777–1853) had moved to Indiana in 1803 from Kentucky. When he wrote Jefferson, he was speaker of the house of the Indiana legislature. He later served as Indiana territorial delegate to Congress. He held a federal judgeship in Illinois Territory from 1809 to 1818, and was a U.S. senator from the state of Illinois from 1818 to 1829. In 1829 he moved to Ohio where he committed suicide following the death of his second wife in 1851. Thomas probably enclosed a copy of William Henry Harrison’s 5 Dec. 1804 proclamation calling for legislative elections. For a list of nominees to the council and of those eventually chosen, see Jefferson to Harrison, 28 Apr. 1805 (DLC: Jefferson Papers, Epistolary Record; Esarey, Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison, Indiana Historical Collections, 1:112–13, 126–28 and n. 2).

7This was Lafayette to Jefferson, 1 Dec. 1804 (DLC: Jefferson Papers; ibid., Epistolary Record). For the power of attorney, see Lafayette to JM, 10 Oct. 1804, PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (9 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 8:144, 148 n. 3.

8On 28 Mar. 1805 Jefferson received a 1 Jan. 1805 letter from Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours, congratulating him on his message to Congress and expressing Du Pont’s hope to return to the United States in company with Lafayette (DLC: Jefferson Papers, Epistolary Record; Gilbert Chinard, ed., The Correspondence of Jefferson and Du Pont de Nemours [1931; reprint, New York, 1979], 89).

Index Entries