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MVB to John Church Hamilton, 28 October 1851

Dear Sir 

I cheerfully comply with your request that I should give you the substance of communications held by me with Mr Jefferson and also with Prince Talleyrand, in regard to your distinguished Father, and of ^to^ which I spoke ^referred^ in your presence some time since.

I spent several days at Montecello in the summer of 1824 & found Mr Jefferson disposed to commu ^speak^ without apparent reserve of ^and with <ease>^ of his political contemporaries & the transactions in which he had taken part. The ^In the course of his^ absence of personal prejudices.

I visited Mr Jefferson in the summer of 1824 & during my stay at Montecello he spoke repeatedly and ^<e>^apparently without the slightest reserve of his political contemporaries and of the ^public^ measures in which he had taken part. In the course of his remarks| I was forcibly & very agreeable struck by his assumption. tThe absence of personal prejudice which characterizd his remarks observations upon the conduct & views of his opponents, was very striking & to me highly ^very^ gratifying. In the course of his observati remarks your Fathers name was of course frequently introduced and it afforded me much pleasure to find that this case did not constitute an exception to this exception ^in his remarks in reference to him there was the like <exemption>^. Observing that when ^whilst^ speaking of the conduct of his own Party he almost invariably said the Republicans did so, ^& so^ he as <we> on the other hand res uniformly described the course of the federal Party ^as that of your Father^ by saying Hamilton took this or that ground; I took the liberty of calling his attention to this peculiarity. He smiled and remarked that he was aware that he had fallen into that habit and attributed it to the circumstance that ^great extent to which^ he had an regarded your Father as the master spirit & controuling genius of the his Party. Whilst dissenting in the strongest terms from his political views he have may do the ^spoke in spoke in <illegible> expressed himself his full confidence^ most favourably. terms of his pred ^very decidedly in favour of^ the sincerity of his motives and of his elevated personal <leading> ^frankness^ in regard to ^party matters &^ public affairs in general. These were substantially repe[. . .] by him in a letter ^which^ I recd from him a few days weeks after my return in the following terms, “For Hamilt[on] frankly avowed that he considered the British Constitution, with all the <conceptions> of its administration, as the mo[st] perfect model of Government which had ever been devised by the wit o[f] man; professing however at the same ti[me] that the spirit of this Country wa[s] so fundamentally republican, that it would be visionary to think of introduc[ing] monarchy here, and that, therefore, it wa[s] the duty of its administrators, to cond[uct] it on the principles, their constituen[ts] had elected.” '

Prince Talleyrand on several occasions ^during my short residence in Englds., England where he represented France not only^ spoke to me of your Fathers not only memory with respect & admiration, but evinced a personal concern in respect to shewed very clearly that their intercourse had produced impressed the Prince with a ^produced a^ more affectionate & sincere regard for your Father ^him^ than those who judge thePrince ^that statesman^ by report only would believe him capable of entertaining. He spoke of him ^considered him your^ as the ablest man whose acquaintance he ^had^ made in this Country and on one occasion ^(speaking of course of referring to the same friend) he said that^ he thought he might without injustice ^add^ or in his own ^Country^ <counter> <either>. I make this statement ^entirely^ on your request for of the distinguished talents & high character of your father, it did not even request the opin

Initial transcription of this document courtesy of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series. 

Source: DLC Library of Congress
Collection: MVB Papers (DLC)
Series: Series 14 (1 January 1849-24 July 1862; undated)