Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA. mad. mss. - The Writings, vol. 8 (1808-1819)
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TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA. mad. mss. - James Madison, The Writings, vol. 8 (1808-1819) 
The Writings of James Madison, comprising his Public Papers and his Private Correspondence, including his numerous letters and documents now for the first time printed, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900). Vol. 8.
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TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA.mad. mss.
I have recd fellow Citizens your address, transmitted on the 22 of December, 1811.1
Under the circumstances which impose on the National Councils, the duty of resorting to other means for obtaining respect to the national rights, than a continuation of the unavailing appeals to the justice of the aggressors, it is an animating consideration that the great body of the Nation appear to be united, in the convictions & feelings which you have expressed.
Our Country faithful to the principles which it professed & studious of the blessings of peace, omitted no pacific effort to engage the Belligerents to abandon their anti-neutral systems; persevering in the authorized expectation that if the example should be given by either, it would be followed by the other. When the repeal of the French Edicts, therefore, was officially declared, it was reasonably inferred that the occasion would be seized by G. Britain to demonstrate the sincerity of her professions, and to remove the obstructions to our commercial intercourse with her which had resulted from the obstructions of our commerce with her adversary. Far from making good the pledge to proceed even step by step with France, in returning to a respect for our neutral rights, her Government contended for formalities in the French proceeding, not observed even in her own practice; and disputed an evidence of facts, which any other than a reluctant party would have promptly embraced; untill, forced into a distrust of these pretexts for adhering to her orders she has at length made it a condition of their repeal, that the markets shut by her Enemy, shall be opened to her productions and manufactures; a condition, which being equally beyond our right to demand, and our means to effect, involves a continuance of the system levelled against our lawful trade, during a war itself of indefinite duration.
The alternative thus presented to the American Nation is rallying it to a vindication of its violated rights, and it would be injustice to its character to doubt that its energy and perseverance, when rendered necessary, will be proportioned to the justice and moderation, by which that necessity ought to have been prevented.
Acquiescence in the practice and pretensions of the British Govt. is forbidden by every view that can be taken of the subject. It would be a voluntary surrender of the persons and property of our Citizens sailing under the neutral guaranty of an Independent flag. It would recolonize our commerce by subjecting it to a foreign Authority; with the sole difference that the regulations of it formerly were made by Acts of Parliament and now, by orders in Council. And whatever benefits might be reaped by particular portions of the Community, whose products are favored by contingent demands, but whose patriotism will not the less make a common cause with every other portion, experience warns us of the fatal tendencies of a commerce unrestricted with G. B., and restricted by her pleasure and policy elsewhere. Whilst the limited Market would continue overcharged with our exports, the disproportionate imports from it, would drain from us the precious metals, endanger our monied Institutions; arrest our internal improvements, and would strangle in the cradle, the manufactures which promise so vigorous a growth. Nor would the evil be confined to our commerce, our agriculture, or our manufactures. The Ship owners & Shipbuilders and mariners must be equally sufferers. Should the regulating power submitted to afford no new preferences to British Navigation, those derived from existing laws & orders would exclude American vessels from the carriage of the products of their own Country, from its own ports. Finally, an acquiescence in the regulation of our Commerce, by the Belligerent having the command of the sea, would be the surest method of perpetuating its destructive Edicts. In a state of things so favorable to its interests, and so flattering to its power, the motives to a change would cease, if a change were otherwise likely to take place.
It is with a just discernment therefore that you have regarded a dereliction of our National rights as not less ruinous than dishonorable; and, with an exemplary patriotism that you have unanimously resolved to co-operate in maintaining them.
Washington Jany. 8th 1812.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.mad. mss.
Washington, Feby. 7, 1812.
I have recd. several letters from you which not requiring special answers, I now beg leave to acknowledge in the lump. I have delayed it in the hope that I might add something on our public affairs not uninteresting. If there be any thing at present of this character it will be found in the inclosed paper from N. York. We have no late official information from Europe; but all that we see from G. B. indicates an adherence to her mad policy towards the U. S. The Newspapers give you a sufficient insight into the measures of Congress. With a view to enable the Executive to step at once into Canada they have provided after two months delay, for a regular force1 requiring 12 to raise it, and after 3 months for a volunteer force, on terms not likely to raise it at all for that object. The mixture of good & bad, avowed & disguised motives accounting for these things is curious eno’ but not to be explained in the compass of a letter. Among other jobbs on my hands is the case of Wilkinson.2 His defence fills 6 or 700 pages of the most collossal paper. The minutes of the Court, oral written & printed testimony, are all in proportion. A month has not yet carried me thro’ the whole.
We have had of late a hard winter & much Ice which still lies on the water in view. The reiteration of Earthquakes continues to be reported from various quarters. They have slightly reached the State of N. Y. and been severely felt W. and S. Westwardly. There was one here this morning at 5 or 6 minutes after 4 o’C. It was rather stronger than any preceding one, & lasted several minutes; with sensible tho’ very slight repetitions throughout the succeeding hour.
Be assured of my best affections.
[1 ]The address was drawn up by Charles Pinckney and an advance copy sent by him to Monroe for the President December 15. It praised Madison and promised him the support of South Carolina.—D. of S. Mss. Miscellaneous Letters.
[1 ]The act of January 11th provided for raising immediately ten regiments of infantry, two of artillery and one of light dragoons for five years unless sooner discharged. The act of February 6th authorized the President to accept volunteers to the number of 50,000, to do duty whenever he should deem proper and to be bound to remain in the service for twelve months after arriving at a rendezvous. They were to retain their own officers and receive the same pay and allowances as regular troops.—Annals of Cong. 12th Cong., Part 2, 2230 et seq.
[2 ]James Wilkinson was Senior Brigadier-General in the army. He was tried by court-martial September 2d to December 25th on eight charges—being a pensioner of Spain, treasonable projects for the dismemberment of the United States, conspiracy with Aaron Burr, connivance at treasonable designs, conspiracy against a friendly nation, disobedience of orders, neglect of duty, misapplication and waste of public funds. His acquittal was because there was not sufficient evidence to convict. February 14th, Madison approved the finding with this memorandum: