James Madison Papers

James Madison to Marquis de Lafayette, 15 June 1829

Montpellier June 15. 1829.

My dear friend

Your letter of Jany. 28 came duly to hand. The answer to it has been procrastinated to this late day by circumstances which you will gather from it.

I am glad to learn that the regenerating spirit continues to work well in your public councils, as well as in the popular mind; and elsewhere as well as in France. It is equally strange & shameful, that England with her boasted freedom, instead of taking the lead in the glorious cause, should frown upon it, as she has done; and should aim, as she now does, to baffle the more generous policy of France in behalf of the Greeks. The contest will increase the lustre reflected on her Rival.

On the receipt of your letter I communicated to Mr. Jefferson Randolph the contents of the paragraph which had reference to him; asking from him at the same time such information as would assist my answer to you. His intense occupations of several sorts, and particularly the constant attention required to the Edition of his Grandfathers Writings, may explain the delay in hearing from him. I understand also that he has himself written to you on that subject, and with a view to a French Edition. I am not able to say what will be the success of the publication here. The prospect is in some respects encouraging, but I fear much short of the desideratum for balancing the Monticello affairs. Much of the land estate indeed, is still unsold; but such is the extreme depreciation of that species of property, and the unexampled defect of purchasers, that a very restricted reliance can be placed on that recourse. Mrs. Randolph with her family will soon remove to the City of Washington; uniting in an establishment there, with Mr. Trist who married one of her daughters, & has a place in the Department of State yielding him about $1400 per annum. This with the interest $1200 from the S. Carolina and Louisiana donations, will it is understood, be the sole dependence, scanty as it is.

It has been generally known that Mr. Le Vasseur has prepared an account of your visit to the U. States, and that a translation is in the Press at Phila. Of its progress I am uninformed. I am aware of the delicacy of your situation; but take for granted that the Author will himself have guarded it against the danger of indelicate suppositions of any sort.

I shall commit this to my friend Mr. Rives, for whom it will serve as an introduction, should it not be rendered superfluous, by your personal recollections. He goes to France as the diplomatic Representative of the U S, after having distinguished himself as a Legislative one at home. He possesses excellent talents, with amiable dispositions; and is worthy of the kindnesses you love to bestow where they are due. I refer to him for the full information which may be acceptable to you, on many subjects public & individual. Being, of course, in the confidence of the present administration, he may know more, than may be generally known, of the Cabinet policy on subjects not under the seal of secrecy.

I have been for some time past in bad health; for a few days quite ill: I am now considerably advanced in a recovery. I hope you continue to enjoy the full advantage of your fine Constitution, and that you will live to witness an irreversible triumph every where of the cause to which you have ever been devoted.

With my best regards to your estimable son, & best wishes for the domestic circle of which you are the Center, I renew the assurance of my constant & affecte. attachment

James Madison

Mrs Madison offers her respectful and affectinate salutations to General La Fayette and begs to present to him her friend and neighbour, Mrs Rives, whom he will find a very charming woman, and who desires much to have the pleasure of knowing one to whom we are all so lastingly attached.

RC (NNPM); draft (DLC). The appended note is in DPM’s hand.

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