MADISON, James. Autograph letter signed ("James Madison"), AS PRESIDENT, TO JAMES MONROE, Montpelier, 16 July 1810. 1 page, 4to, integral address leaf, seal hole, small closed tears on creases of address leaf, spike holes at center, WITH AUTOGRAPH FREE FRANK SIGNED ("James Madison"), docketed by Monroe.
MADISON SEEKS THE SERVICES OF THE FIRST WHITE HOUSE GARDENER
"If I did not misunderstand you when in Washington the Gardener Beza [sic] was not now engaged or wanted for your service, and would not, probably, be unwilling to undertake a job for me. Should this be the case, I would ask the favor of you to send him down as soon as possible. I wish to employ him & 2 or 3 hands under him, in preparing a piece of ground for a garden and to have it executed in a certain degree at least before I return to Washington about the beginning of October. To prevent mistakes or discontents, it will be desireable that he should be engaged by the month, and that the rate should be fixt before he sets out. Will you be so obliging as to include these particulars in what may be said to him. Mrs M. charges me with her best respects to Mrs Monroe. Be pleased to add a tender of mine, & to be assured of my high esteem & friendly wishes."
The White House's first tenant, John Adams, ordered the creation of a garden on the grounds of the President's Mansion. Thomas Jefferson, with his usual passion for design, carried out an ambitious landscaping project. He selected the location of the flower garden and constructed an arc of triumph formed with two weeping willow trees (that do not survive). When Monroe came into power in 1817 he brought Charles Bizet with him, and Bizet is considered the first White House gardener. John Quincy Adams dismissed him in 1825, and named John Ousley to the post. Ousley held the position for the next 30 years. A fine linkage of two early Presidents.