Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JAMES MONROE. 1 - The Writings, vol. 8 (1808-1819)
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TO JAMES MONROE. 1 - 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 JAMES MONROE.1
Montpellier, February 18, 1819.
I have received your favor of the 13th. I beg that you will not think of the pecuniary subject until it be in every respect perfectly convenient to you.
The real sense of the nation with respect to the Revolutionary struggle in South America cannot, I should suppose, be mistaken. Good wishes for its success, and every lawful manifestation of them, will be approved by all, whatever may be the consequences. The nation will equally disapprove any measures unnecessarily involving it in the danger of a war, which might even do less good to the Spanish patriots than harm to the United States, or any underhand measures bringing a just stain on the national character. Those who are most disposed to censure the tardiness of the Executive in acknowledging the Independence of Buenos Ayres, which alone has the appearance of having reached maturity, should recollect that it was never declared until July, 1806, and that it has been rendered uncertain whether the declaration would preclude a modified re-establishment of a dependent State.
The account of Mr. Rush’s conversation must be founded at least in some egregious mistake. No one who is acquainted with his good sense, his self-command, his official habits, and his personal dispositions, can easily believe that he would commit either the Executive or himself in the manner stated, and still less that he would have withheld what he had done from you. Besides, what considerate citizen could desire that the Government should purchase Florida from such an adventurer as McGregor,1 whose conquest, if a real one, could give no title that would he alienable, before it should be consummated by a termination of the contest between the parties? The purchase of such a title from such a quarter would have exposed the United States to the utmost odium as to the mode of gaining the possession, without any greater security for keeping it than would attend a direct seizure on the plea of an obstinate refusal to pay an acknowledged debt.
[1 ]From Madison’s Works (Cong. Ed.)
[1 ]He had a plan to take Amelia Island and then the Floridas. See Am. State Papers, For. Offs., iv., p. 603.