James Madison Papers

James Madison to Henry Clay, 14 October 1828

Montpellier Ocr. 14. 1828

Dear Sir

I have duly recd. your letter of the 10th. inst. on the subject of Mr. Trist son in law to Mrs. Randolph, of whose qualifications for a Clerkship in the Department of State you wish me to judge.

This young gentleman is I believe, regarded by all best acquainted with him, as possessing a fine understanding, as respectable for his scientific and literary accomplishments, as of strict honor & good habits of every sort. Having gone thro’ a course of Law–reading under the roof of Mr. Jefferson which qualified him for the Bar, the practice at which is not relished by him, he has also whatever advantage may accrue from that fund of knowledge; to which may be added, a familiar acquaintance with the French Language; And what is not without its value, a handwriting uncommonly acceptable to the eye. Since the death of Mr. Jefferson, who is known to have thought highly of him, & to have been much attached to him, he has been Secretary to the Board of Visitors of the University, and enjoyed the esteem of them all.

With this view of his character, I could not hesitate to forward your letter to him. I think it quite probable, that he will prove a useful acquisition in the business of the Department

What may be the final arrangements for the family of Mrs. Randolph, I am not sufficiently informed. Several plans, I understand, have been under consideration having reference to the scantiness of her resources. It is not improbable that she may prefer a residence in Washington connected with that of the husband of her daughter. But whether or not, I have no doubt she will not only be much gratified by the appointment you have so kindly made, but that it will, in some form or other, aid the means of her personal comfort.

I beg to join Mrs. Madison in best respects to Mrs. Clay, & to offer to yourself our cordial esteem and good wishes.

James Madison

RC (DLC: Nicholas P. Trist Papers).

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