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to james madison - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 9 (1799-1803) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 9.
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to james madison
ed. of 1829.
Monticello November 22, 1799.
—I have never answered your letter by Mr. Polk, because I expected to have paid you a visit. This has been prevented by various causes, till yesterday. That being the day fixed for the departure of my daughter Eppes, my horses were ready for me to have set out to see you: an accident postponed her departure to this day, and my visit also. But Colonel Monroe dined with me yesterday, and on my asking his commands for you, he entered into the subject of the visit and dissuaded it entirely, founding the motives on the espionage of the little * * * in * * * * who would make it a subject of some political slander, and perhaps of some political injury. I have yielded to his representations, and therefore shall not have the pleasure of seeing you till my return from Philadelphia. I regret it sincerely, not only on motives of attention but of affairs. Some late circumstances changing considerably the aspect of our situation, must affect the line of conduct to be observed. I regret it the more too, because from the commencement of the ensuing session, I shall trust the post offices with nothing confidential, persuaded that during the ensuing twelve months they will lend their inquisitorial aid to furnish matter for newspapers. I shall send you as usual printed communications, without saying anything confidential on them. You will of course understand the cause.
In your new station1 let me recommend to you the jury system: as also the restoration of juries in the court of chancery, which a law not long since repealed, because “the trial by jury is troublesome and expensive.” If the reason be good, they should abolish it at common law also. If Peter Carr is elected in the room of * * * he will undertake the proposing this business, and only need your support. If he is not elected, I hope you will get it done otherwise. My best respects to Mrs. Madison, and affectionate salutations to yourself.
to james monroe
Philadelphia January 12, 1800.
Yours of Jan. 4. was received last night. I had then no expectation of any opportunity of communicating to you confidentially information of the state of opinions here; but I learn to-night that two mr. Randolphs will set out to-morrow morning for Richmond. If I can get this into their hands I shall send it, otherwise it may wait long. On the subject of an election by a general ticket, or by districts, most persons here seem to have made up their minds. All agree that an election by districts would be best, if it could be general; but while 10 states chuse either by their legislatures or by a general ticket, it is folly & worse than folly for the other 6. not to do it. In these 10. states the minority is entirely unrepresented; & their majorities not only have the weight of their whole state in their scale, but have the benefit of so much of our minorities as can succeed at a district election. This is, in fact, ensuring to our minorities the appointment of the government. To state it in another form; it is merely a question whether we will divide the U S into 16. or 137. districts. The latter being more chequered, & representing the people in smaller sections, would be more likely to be an exact representation of their diversified sentiments. But a representation of a part by great, & a part by small sections, would give a result very different from what would be the sentiment of the whole people of the U S, were they assembled together. I have today had a conversation with 113.1 who has taken a flying trip here from N Y. He says, they have really now a majority in the H of R, but for want of some skilful person to rally round, they are disjointed, & will lose every question. In the Senate there is a majority of 8. or 9. against us. But in the new election which is to come on in April, three or 4. in the Senate will be changed in our favor; & in the H of R the county elections will still be better than the last; but still all will depend on the city election, which is of 12. members. At present there would be no doubt of our carrying our ticket there; nor does there seem to be time for any events arising to change that disposition. There is therefore the best prospect possible of a great & decided majority on a joint vote of the two houses. They are so confident of this, that the republican party there will not consent to elect either by districts or a general ticket. They chuse to do it by their legislature. I am told the republicans of N J are equally confident, & equally anxious against an election either by districts or a general ticket. The contest in this State will end in a separation of the present legislature without passing any election law, (& their former one is expired), and in depending on the new one, which will be elected Oct 14. in which the republican majority will be more decided in the Representatives, & instead of a majority of 5. against us in the Senate, will be of 1. for us. They will, from the necessity of the case, chuse the electors themselves. Perhaps it will be thought I ought in delicacy to be silent on this subject. But you, who know me, know that my private gratifications would be most indulged by that issue, which should leave me most at home. If anything supersedes this propensity, it is merely the desire to see this government brought back to it’s republican principles. Consider this as written to mr. Madison as much as yourself; & communicate it, if you think it will do any good, to those possessing our joint confidence, or any others where it may be useful & safe. Health & affectionate salutations.
[1 ]The Legislature of Virginia.