James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 18 December 1823

To Thomas Jefferson

Montpellier Decr. 18. 1823

Dear Sir

I return the letter from Mr. Gilmer.1 It would have been more agreeable if he had not suspended his decision as to the ulterior object offered him: but he can not be blamed for yielding to the reasons he gives for it. There is weight in what he suggests as to an extension of his research into Germany: and there may be some advantage in the attraction wch. a professor from that quarter might have for students from the German regions of the U.S. But there will be time for consideration before a final instruction on the subject will be given. If the Continent of Europe however be opened at all, it may be well not to shut out some other parts of it. I hope if the assembly fulfils our wishes at an early period of the Session, that the Envoy will be able to embark before the end of it if it be a long one.

Partial RC (DLC). Complimentary close and signature clipped. Docketed by Jefferson “recd Dec. 24.” A note at the bottom, in Dolley Madison’s hand, reads: “Cut off for an Autorgraph [sic].”

1Francis Walker Gilmer to Jefferson, 3 Dec. 1823 (Richard Beale Davis, ed., Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson and Francis Walker Gilmer, 1814–1826 [Columbia, S.C., 1946], 81–82). In addition to the mission in search of professors for the University of Virginia, Jefferson had offered Gilmer the professorship of law, a position that Gilmer preferred to leave “open for further consideration.”

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