Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1818 - TO CHARLES J. INGERSOLL. mad. mss. - The Writings, vol. 8 (1808-1819)
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1818 - TO CHARLES J. INGERSOLL. 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 CHARLES J. INGERSOLL.mad. mss.
Montpellier, Jany 4, 1818.
I have recd your letter of the 25th Ult.1
Believing that the late war merits a historical review penetrating below the surface of events, and beyond the horizon of unexpanded minds, I am glad to learn that the task is contemplated by one whose talents, and, what is not less essential, whose fairness of dispositions, are entitled to so much confidence. Whatever be the light in which any individual actor on the public Theatre may appear, the contest exhibited in its true features cannot fail to do honor to our Country; and, in one respect particularly, to be auspicious to its solid & lasting interest. If our first struggle was a war of our infancy, this last was that of our youth; and the issue of both, wisely improved, may long postpone, if not forever prevent, a necessity for exerting the strength of our manhood.
With this view of the subject, and of the hands into which it is falling, I cannot be unwilling to contribute to the Stock of Materials. But you much overrate I fear, “my private papers,” as distinct from those otherwise attainable. They consist for the most part of my correspondence with the heads of Departments, particularly when separated from them, and of a few vestiges remaining of Cabinet Consultations. It has been my purpose to employ a portion of my leisure, in gathering up and arranging these, with others relating to other periods of our public affairs; and after looking over carefully the first, I shall be better able to judge how far, they throw any valuable rays on your object, and are of a nature not improper for public use.
Be pleased, Sir, to accept assurances of my esteem and cordial respects.
TO JACOB GIDEON.
Montpellier, 28. January, 1818.
I have recd. your letter of the 19th, and in consequence of the request it makes, I send you a Copy of the 1st. Edition of the “Federalist,” with the names of the writers prefixed to their respective numbers.1 Not being on the spot, when it was in the Press, the errors now noted in mine were not then corrected. You will be so good as to return the 2 vols when convenient to you.
The 2d Edition of the Work comprised a pamphlet ascribed to one of its Authors. The pamphlet had no connection with the Plan to which the others were parties, and contains a comment on an important point in the Constitution, which was disapproved by one of them who published an answer to it.
I take the liberty of suggesting that as comparative views frequently occur in the work of the original “Articles of Confederation” and The Constitution by which it was superseded it might be convenient to the Reader to have the former as well as the latter prefixed to the Commentary on both.
TO MORDECAI M. NOAH.mad. mss.
Montpellier, May 15; 1818.
I have recd. your letter of the 6th,1 with the eloquent discourse delivered at the Consecration of the Jewish Synagogue. Having ever regarded the freedom of religious opinions & worship as equally belonging to every sect, & the secure enjoyment of it as the best human provision for bringing all either into the same way of thinking, or into that mutual charity which is the only substitute, I observe with pleasure the view you give of the spirit in which your Sect partake of the blessings offered by our Govt. and Laws.
As your foreign Mission took place whilst I was in the Administration, it cannot but be agreeable to me to learn that your accts. have been closed in a manner so favorable to you. And I know too well the justice & candor of the present Executive to doubt, that an official [illegible] will be readily allowed to explanations necessary to protect your character against the effect of any impressions whatever ascertained to be erroneous. It is certain that your religious profession was well known at the time you recd. your Commission; and that in itself could not be a motive for your recall.
I thank you Sir for your friendly wishes and tender you mine.
TO JOHN ADAMS.mad. mss.
Montpellier, Aug. 7, 1818.
On my return two days ago from a meeting appointed to report to the Legislature of the State a proper Site for a University, I found your obliging favor of the 25, Ult: with its inclosed copies of Dr. Mayhews sermon. I have read with pleasure this symbol of the political tone of thinking at the period of its original publication. The Author felt the strength of his argument, and has given a proof of his own.
Your remark is very just on the subject of Independence. It was not the offspring of a particular man or a particular moment. If Mr. Wirt be otherwise understood in his life of Mr. Henry, I cannot but suppose that his intention has been not clearly expressed, or not sufficiently scrutinized. Our forefathers brought with them the germ of Independence, in the principle of self-taxation. Circumstances unfolded & perfected it.
The first occasion which aroused this principle, was, if I can trust my recollection, the projected Union at Albany in 1754, when the proposal of the British Govt. to reimburse its advances for the Colonies by a Parliamentary tax on them was met by the letter from Dr. Franklin to Governor Shirley, pointing out the unconstitutionality, the injustice, and the impolicy of such a tax.
The opposition & discussions produced by the Stamp & subsequent Acts of Parliament, make another stage in the growth of Independence. The attempts to distinguish between legislation on the subject of taxes, and on other subjects, terminated in the disclosure that no such distinction existed.
And these combats against the arrogated Authority of the British Legislature paved the way for burying in the same grave with it, the forfeited Authority of the British King.
If the merit of Independence as declared in 1776 is to be traced to Individuals, it belongs to those who first meditated the glorious measure, who were the ablest in contending for it, & who were the most decided in supporting it. Future times will be disposed to apportion this merit justly, and the present times ought to bequeath the means for doing it, unstained with the unworthy feelings which you so properly deprecate.
Be pleased Sir to accept renewed assurances of my great esteem & best wishes.
TO JAMES MONROE.mad. mss.
Octr [2d.], 1818.
I have duly recd yours of the 27th Ult: I am very sorry that I shall not be able to have the pleasure of joining you at the Meeting of the Visitors. We must await, therefore that of seeing you & Mrs. M. on your way to Washington; and hope you will set out in time to spare us some days.
The communications from Mr. Rush are very interesting. G. B. seems so anxious to secure the general trade with the U. S. and at the same time to separate that from the question of the colonial trade, that I fear she will use means to struggle agst. a change in the latter. I had not understood that the renewal of the existing Treaty1 was desired by our merchts. & ship owners, unless coupled with a reciprocity in the colonial trade, and had supposed that by making the latter a condition of the former, it wd. be the more attainable, especially as it wd. be more easy for the B. Ministry to find a cover for the concession in a mixed than a simple transaction. I readily presume however that the official views of the subject are the result of much better estimates than my information can furnish. Were it practicable it wd. be an agreeable precedent to effectuate a treaty making no distinction between Colonial & other ports of the same nation, as no distinction is made between our ports. I have no doubt that this will Ultimately be the case in all our Treaties; but we must move in concert with one great & good Ally, Time.
It proves as all of us suspected that the sauciness of Spain proceeded from her expectation of being powerfully backed in Europe. The situation of G. B. is a little envious and not a little perplexing. She sees the jealousy of the Continental powers, and endeavors to manage it by acquiescing in the proposed mediation between Spain & S. America, & by protesting agst. peculiar advantages in the trade of the latter. On the other hand she wishes to stand as well as possible with the revolutionary countries, & does not wish the U. S. to be ahead of her in countenancing them. It would be a fortunate thing, if she could be prevailed on to unite with our views, instead of inviting a union of ours with hers. If she restricts the mediation to an advisory one, a great point will be gained for all parties. In every view it is very gratifying to find her become so much disposed to meet the U. S. in that conciliatory policy for wch they have so long kept the way open, & which is so evidently the true interest of both parties.
Yrs. respectfully & affly.
TO JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.d. of s. mss. miscl. lets.
Montpellier, Novr. 2, 1818.1
I have received your letter of the 22 ult: and enclose such extracts from my notes relating to the two last days of the Convention, as may fill the chasm in the Journals, according to the mode in which the proceedings are recorded.
Col. Hamilton did not propose in the Convention any plan of a Constitution. He had sketched an outline which he read as part of a speech; observing that he did not mean it as a proposition, but only to give a more correct view of his ideas.
Mr. Patterson regularly proposed a plan which was discussed & voted on.
I do not find the plan of Mr. Charles Pinkney among my papers.
I tender you, Sir, assurances of my great respect and esteem.
TO JAMES MONROE.mad. mss.
Montpellier, Novr 28, 1818.
Your favor of the 23d having passed on to Milton whence it came back to Orange Court House I did not receive it until yesterday.
I am glad to find that our proportion of Shipping in the direct trade with G. B. is increasing. It must continue to do so under an established reciprocity, with regard to the trade with the B. Colonies, whether that be founded on the admission or exclusion of the ships of both Countries.
I thank you for the printed Copy of the documents relating to our long controversy with Spain.1 It forms a valuable continuation of the State papers already published.
It is pleasing to see proofs of the growing respect for us among the great powers of Europe; which must be cherished and enhanced by the current developments of a just and elevated policy on the part of the United States. Is it not worth while to found on this respect an experiment to draw Russia and France who particularly profess it, into our liberal and provident views in favor of S. America. The great work of its emancipation would then be compleated per saltum; for Great Britain could not hold back if so disposed, and Spain would have no choice but acquiescence.
The inference of Mr. Rush from the circumstances of his last interview with Lord Castle[reagh]: in the moment of his departure for Aix la Chapelle, is as judicious as it is favorable to our hopes of terminating the Thorny question of impressment. The British Cabinet gave up its sine qua non in order to get rid of a war with us at a crisis rendering it embarrassing to its affairs internal and external. It may be equally ready to obviate by another sacrifice the danger of one which might be not less embarrassing in both respects. Impressment and peace, it must now be evident, are irreconcilable. It will be happy if the apparent disposition to yeild in this case be carried into effect; and it may be hoped the same flexibility may be extended to the case of blockades, which in the event of a maritime war in Europe would have a like tendency with impressments. The remaining danger to a permanent harmony would then lie in the possession of Canada; which as Great B. ought to know, whenever rich enough to be profitable, will be strong enough to be independent. Were it otherwise, Canada can be of no value to her, when at war with us; and when at peace, will be of equal value, whether a British Colony or an American State. Whether the one or the other the consumption of British Manufactures & export of useful materials will be much the same. The latter would be guarded even agst a tax on them by an Article in our Constitun.
But notwithstanding the persuasive nature of these considerations there is little probability of their overcoming the national pride which is flattered by extended dominion; and still less perhaps ministerial policy always averse to narrow the field of patronage. As far as such a transfer would affect the relative power of the two Nations, the most unfriendly jealousy could find no objection to the measure; for it would evidently take more weakness from G. B. than it would add strength to the U. S. In truth the only reason we can have to desire Canada, ought to weigh as much with G. B. as with us. In her hands it must ever be a source of collision which she ought to be equally anxious to remove; and a Snare to the poor Indians towards whom her humanity ought to be equally excited. Interested individuals have dwelt much on its importance to G. B. as a channel for evading & crippling our commercial laws. But it may well be expected that other views of her true interest will prevail in her councils, if she permits experience to enlighten them. I return the private letter you enclosed from Mr. Rush.
Health & Success.
[1 ]Ingersoll had been a warm supporter of the war from the beginning. The work he was undertaking appeared in four volumes (Philadelphia, 1845-’52) under the title Historical Sketch of the Second War between the United States and Great Britain.
[1 ]See ante, Vol. V., pp. 54, 55, n. Gideon inclosed a list of the numbers of the Federalist and requested Madison to give the names of the author of each. Madison wrote to him on February 20th:
TO JAMES K. PAULDING.
Montpr. July 23. [1818.]
th. inst. with the handsome copy of your edition of the “Federalist.” As this replaces the Copy sent you, there is the less occasion for a return of the latter. It may be proper perhaps to observe that it is not the [only] one containing the names of the writers Correctly prefixed to their respective papers. I had a considerable time ago, at the request of particular friends, given the same advantage to their copies.