|Vine & Fig Tree in history|
[Abraham Lincoln admitted that keeping North and South united was more important to him than whether blacks were permitted to sit under their own Vine & Fig Tree. Madison seems to share those same priorities, although I would love to hear from Madisonphiles to the contrary.]
To Mark L. Hill
APRIL , 1820.
DR SIRI have received your favor of the 17th, inclosing two letters from Mr. Jefferson, one to the late Governor Langdon, the other to yourself, and a copy of your printed address to your constituents on the Missouri question. The letters I return, as you desired. Mr. Jefferson was very right, I think, in not assenting to the publication of his letter to your uncle.
I was myself intimately acquainted with your uncle, and cheerfully concur in all the praise Mr. Jefferson bestows on him. He was a true patriot and a good man; with a noble way of thinking, and a frankness and warmth of heart that made his friends love him much, as it did me in a high degree, and disarmed his enemies of some of the asperity indulged towards others.
The candid view you have given of the Missouri question is well calculated to assuage the party zeal which it generated. As long as the conciliatory spirit which produced the Constitution remains in the mass of the people, and the several parts Of the Union understand the deep interest which every part has in maintaining it, these stormy subjects will soon blow over; and the people, on the return of calm, be more disposed to consider wherein their interests agree, than wherein their opinions differ. The very discords to which they found themselves subject, even under the guardianship of a united Government, pre-monish them of the tempestuous hostilities which await a dissolution of it. I did not know that I had so much personal concern in the length of the session as I found I had by its effect on your intended visit. I well know how much room there is for sympathetic recollection of the political scenes through which we have passed, and should have found the pleasure of seeing you increased by the tranquil review which our conversations might have taken of them. I cannot but hope that a future opportunity will repair the disappointment, and that it may still be in my power to express to you, under my Vine & Fig Tree, the esteem and friendly respects of which I pray you to accept this assurance at Washington.
Writings of Madison, Volume 3: 1816-1828, p.175
Vine & Fig Tree