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1820 - TO NOAH WEBSTER. mad. mss. - James Madison, The Writings, vol. 9 (1819-1836) 
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. 9.
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TO NOAH WEBSTER.mad. mss.
Montpellier (near Orange Court House Virga) Jany —, 1820.
In looking over my papers in order to purge and finally arrange my files, my attention fell on your letter of Aug. 20, 1804, in which I was requested to give such information as I could as to the origin of the change in the Federal Government which took place in 1788. My answer does not appear, the copy of it having been lost, if one was retained as is probable. Will you be so obliging as to enable me to replace it, and to pardon the trouble I am imposing on you; accepting at the same time assurances of my esteem, and of my friendly respects.
Where can your pamphlet entitled “Sketches of Amn policy” be now obtained; also that of Mr. Peletiah Webster referred to in your letter.1
TO JAMES MONROE.mad. mss.
Montplr., Feby 10, 1820.
I have duly recd. your favr. of the 5th, followed by a copy of the public documents, for which I give you many thanks. I shd. like to get a copy of the Journals of the Convention.1 Are they to be purchased & where?
It appears to me as it does to you, that a coupling of Missouri with Maine, in order to force the entrance of the former thro’ the door voluntarily opened to the latter is, to say the least, a very doubtful policy. Those who regard the claims of both as similar & equal, and distrust the views of such as wish to disjoin them may be strongly tempted to resort to the expedient; and it wd perhaps, be too much to say that in no possible case such a resort cd be justified. But it may at least be said that a very peculiar case only could supersede the general policy of a direct & magnanimous course, appealing to the justice & liberality of others, and trusting to the influence of conciliatory example.
I find the idea is fast spreading that the zeal wth. which the extension, so called, of slavery is opposed, has, with the coalesced leaders, an object very different from the welfare of the slaves, or the check to their increase; and that their real object is, as you intimate, to form a new state of parties founded on local instead of political distinctions; thereby dividing the Republicans of the North from those of the South, and making the former instrumental in giving to the opponents of both an ascendancy over the whole. If this be the view of the subject at Washington it furnishes an additional reason for a conciliatory proceeding in relation to Maine.
I have been truly astonished at some of the doctrines and deliberations to which the Missouri question has led; and particularly so at the interpretations put on the terms “migration or importation &c.” Judging from my own impressions I shd. deem it impossible that the memory of any one who was a member of the Genl. Convention, could favor an opinion that the terms did not exclusively refer to Migration & importation into the U. S. Had they been understood in that Body in the sense now put on them, it is easy to conceive the alienation they would have there created in certain States; And no one can decide better than yourself the effect they would have had in the State Conventions, if such a meaning had been avowed by the Advocates of the Constitution. If a suspicion had existed of such a construction, it wd at least have made a conspicuous figure among the amendments proposed to the Instrument.
I have observed as yet, in none of the views taken of the Ordinance of 1787, interdicting slavery N. W. of the Ohio, an allusion to the circumstance, that when it passed, the Congs. had no authority to prohibit the importaton of slaves from abroad; that all the States had, & some were in the full exercise of the right to import them; and, consequently, that there was no mode in which Congs. could check the evil, but the indirect one of narrowing the space open for the reception of slaves. Had a federal authority then existed to prohibit directly & totally the importation from abroad, can it be doubted that it wd have been exerted? and that a regulation having merely the effect of preventing an interior dispersion of the slaves actually in the U. S. & creating a distinction among the States in the degrees of their sovereignty, would not have been adopted, or perhaps, thought of?
No folly in the Spanish Govt can now create surprise. I wish you happily thro’ the thorny circumstances it throws in your way. Adieu &c.
TO JAMES MONROE.mad. mss.
Montpr, Feby. 23, 1820
I recd. yours of the 19th on Monday. Genl. Brown who returned from Monticello that evening has been since with me till 10 O’C today. Your letter found me indisposed from exposure to a cold wind, without due precaution, And I have continued so. I write now with a fever on me. This circumstance will account for both the delay & the brevity in complying with your request.
The pinch of the difficulty in the case stated seems to be in the words “forever,” coupled with the interdict relating to the Territory N. of L 36° 30′.1 If the necessary import of these words be that they are to operate as a condition on future States admitted into the Union, and as a restriction on them after admission, they seem to encounter indirectly the argts. which prevailed in the Senate for an unconditional admission of Missouri. I must conclude therefore from the assent of the Senate to the words, after the strong vote on constitutional grounds agst. the restriction on Missouri, that there is some other mode of explaining them in their actual application.
As to the right of Congs. to apply such a restriction during the Territorial Periods, it depends on the clause in the Constitution specially providing for the management of these subordinate establishments.
On one side it naturally occurs that the right being given from the necessity of the case, and in suspension of the great principle of self Govt. ought not to be extended farther nor continued longer than the occasion might fairly require.
On the other side it cannot be denied that the Constl. phrase, “to make all rules” &c as expounded by uniform practice, is somewhat of a ductile nature, and leaves much to Legislative discretion.
The questions to be decided seem to be whether a territorial restriction be an assumption of illegitimate power, or 2 a measure of legitimate power. And if the latter only whether the injury threatened to the nation from an acquiescence in the measure, or from a frustration of it, under all the circumstances of the case, be the greater. On the first point there is certainly room for difference of Opinion, tho’ for myself I must own that I have always leaned to the belief that the restriction was not within the true scope of the Constitution. On the alternative presented by the second point there can be no room, with the cool and candid, for blame on those acquiescing in a conciliatory course, the demand for which was deemed urgent, and the course itself deemed not irreconcilable with the Constitution.
This is the hasty view of the subject I have taken. I am aware that it may be suspected of being influenced by the habit of a guarded construction of Constl powers; and I have certainly felt all the influence that cd. justly flow from a conviction, that an uncontrouled dispersion of the slaves now in the U. S. was not only best for the nation, but most favorable for the slaves, also both as to their prospects of emancipation, and as to their condition in the mean time.
The inflammatory conduct of Mr. King surprises every one. His general warfare agst. the slave-holding States, and his efforts to disparage the securities derived from the Constn were least of all to be looked for. I have noticed less of recurrence to the contemporary expositions of the Charter than was to be expected from the zeal & industry of the Champions in Debate. The proceedings of the Va. Convention have been well sifted; but those of other States ought not to have been Overlooked. The speeches of Mr. King in Massts and Mr. Hamilton in N. York shew the ground on which they vindicated particularly the Compound rule of representation in Congs. And doubtless there are many other evidences of the way of thinking then prevalent on that & other articles equally the result of a sense of equity & a spirit of mutual concession.
TO C. D. WILLIAMS.mad. mss.
Feby —, 1820
I have received your favor of [January 29] accompanied by the pamphlet on the subject of a circulating medium.1
I have not found it convenient to bestow on the plan proposed the attention necessary to trace the bearings and operations of new arrangements ingeniously combined on a subject which in its most simple forms has produced so much discussion among political Economists.
It cannot be doubted that a paper currency rigidly limited in its quantity to purposes absolutely necessary, may be made equal & even superior in value to specie. But experience does not favor a reliance on such experiments. Whenever the paper has not been convertible into specie, and its quantity has depended on the policy of the Govt. a depreciation has been produced by an undue increase, or an apprehension of it. The expedient suggested in the pamphlet has the advantage of tying up the hands of the Govt but besides the possibility of legislative interferences, bursting the fetters, a discretion vested in a few hands over the Currency of the nation, & of course over the legal value of its property, is liable to powerful objections; and tho’ confined to a range of 5 per Ct, wd have still room for a degree of error or abuse not a little formidable. The idea also of making foreign currency depending on a foreign will, and the balance of trade always varying, and at no time reducible to certainty & precision, standards for a natl Currency wd not easily be admitted.
I am sensible Sir that these observations must have been included in your examination of the subject, and that they are to be regarded in no other light than as an expression of the respect & acknowledgment, which I pray you to accept for your polite Communication.
TO JAMES MONROE.1
Montplr, Mar., 1820
My nephew R. L. Madison has turned his thoughts to the new acquisition expected from Spain on our S. Frontier and wishes an official situation there which may be convenient for the time and improve his future prospects for a growing family. The reluctance I feel in speaking on all such occasions is heightened in this by the personal relation which may be supposed to bias me. Leaving the other sources there for the more general information requisite, I will not permit myself to say more than that I consider him as not deficient in talents and that to these have been added a tolerably good education. However agreeable it must of course be to me to see his interests promoted, I can neither expect nor wish it farther than his pretensions may bear the test applied to those of others and those that public considerations will authorize.
TO J. Q. ADAMS.mad. mss.
Montplr., June 13, 1820
I have recd & return my thanks for your polite favor accompanying the Copy of the printed Journal of the Federal Convention transmitted in pursuance of a late Resolution of Congress.
In turning over a few pages of the Journal, which is all I have done a casual glance caught a passage which erroneously prefixed my name to ye proposition made on the 7, day of Sepr. for making a Council of six members a part of the Executive branch of the Govt. The proposition was made by Col. George Mason one of the Virga delegates, & seconded by Dr. Franklin.1 I cannot be mistaken in the fact; For besides my recollection which is sufficiently distinct on the subject, my notes contain the observations of each in support of the proposition. As the original Journal according to my extract from it, does not name the mover of ye propn the error, I presume must have had its source in some of the extrinsic communications to you, unless indeed it was found in some of the separate papers of the Secretary of the Convention, or is to be ascribed to a copying pen. The degree of symphony in the two names Madison & Mason may possibly have contributed to the substitution of the one for the other.
This explanation having a reference to others as well as myself, I have thought it wd. be neither improper nor unacceptable. Along with it I renew the assurance of my high esteem and cordial respts..
TO JACOB DE LA MOTTA.mad. mss.
Montpellier, Aug., 1820
I have received your letter of the 7th inst. with the Discourse delivered at the Consecration of the Hebrew Synagogue at Savannah, for which you will please to accept my thanks.
The history of the Jews must forever be interesting. The modern part of it is, at the same time so little generally known, that every ray of light on the subject has its value.
Among the features peculiar to the Political system of the U. States, is the perfect equality of rights which it secures to every religious Sect. And it is particularly pleasing to observe in the good citizenship of such as have been most distrusted and oppressed elsewhere, a happy illustration of the safety & success of this experiment of a just & benignant policy. Equal laws protecting equal rights, are found as they ought to be presumed, the best guarantee of loyalty & love of country; as well as best calculated to cherish that mutual respect & good will among Citizens of every religious denomination which are necessary to social harmony and most favorable to the advancement of truth. The account you give of the Jews of your Congregation brings them fully within the scope of these observations.
I tender you, Sir, my respects & good wishes
TO JAMES MONROE.mad. mss.
Montpellier, Nov. 19, 1820
Yesterday’s mail brought me your favor of the 16th, with a copy of your message; the only one which reached me; no newspaper containing it having come to hand.
The view you have taken of our public affairs cannot but be well received at home, and increase our importance abroad. The State of our finances is the more gratifying as it so far exceeds the public hopes. I infer from the language of your letter that the contest for the Chair terminated in favor of Mr. Taylor, and that it manifested a continuance of the spirit which connected itself with the Missouri question at the last session.1 This is much to be regretted, as is the clause in the constitution of the new State, which furnishes a text for the angry & unfortunate discussion. There can be no doubt that the clause, if against the Constitution of the U. S., would be a nullity; it being impossible for congress, with, more than without, a concurrence of New or old members of the Union, to vary the political equality of the States, or their constitutional relations to each other or to the whole. But it must, to say the least, be an awkward precedent, to sanction the Constitution of the New State containing a clause at variance with that of the U. S. even with a declaration that the clause was a nullity, and the awkwardness might become a very serious perplexity if the admission of the New State into the Union, and of its Senators & Representatives into Congress, & their participation in the acts of the latter, should be followed by a determination of Missouri to remain as it is rather than accede to an annulment of the obnoxious clause. Would it not be a better course to suspend the Admission until the people of Missouri could amend their constitution; provided their so doing would put an end to the controversy and produce a quiet admission at the ensuing session. Or if the objections to this course be insuperable; may it not deserve consideration, whether the terms of the clause, would not be satisfied by referring the authority it gives, to the case of free people of colour not Citizens of other States. Not having the Constitution of Missouri at hand, I can form no opinion on this point. But a right in the States to inhibit the entrance of that description of coloured people, it may be presumed, would be as little disrelished by the States having no slaves, as by the States retaining them. There is room also for a more critical examination of the Constitutional meaning of the term “Citizens” than has yet taken place; and of the effect of the various civil disqualifications applied by the laws of the States to free people of colour.
I do not recollect that Mr. Correa had any direct or explicit conversation with me on the subject between him & the Govt.. It is possible that my view of it might have been inferred from incidental observations; but I have no recollections leading me to the supposition; unless an inference was made from a question touched on concerning the precise criterion between a Civilized and uncivilized people, which had no connection, in my mind with his diplomatic transactions. What may have passed with Mr. Jefferson I know not.
I find that Mr. Tench Coxe is desirous of some profitable mark of the confidence of the Govt. for which he supposes some opportunities are approaching; and with that view, that you should be reminded of his public career.1 I know not what precise object he has in his thoughts, nor how far he may be right in anticipating an opening for its attainment; and I am aware both of your own knowledge of his public services, and of your good dispositions towards him. I feel an obligation, nevertheless, to testify in his behalf, that from a very long acquaintance with him, and continued opportunities of remarking his political course, I have ever considered him among the most strenuous & faithful laborers for the good of his Country. At a very early period he was an able defender of its commercial rights & interest. He was one of the members of the convention at Annapolis. His pen was indefatigable in demonstrating the necessity of a new form of Govt. for the nation; & he has steadfastly adhered, in spite of many warping considerations, to the true principles and policy on which it ought to be administered. He has also much merit in the active & efficient part he had in giving impulse to the Cotton cultivation, & other internal interests; and I have reason to believe that his mind & his pen continue to be occupied with subjects closely connected with the public welfare. With these impressions of the services he has rendered, I cannot but own, that any provision that could be proper in itself, & contribute to make his advanced age more comfortable than it otherwise might be, would afford me real pleasure. Of its practicability I do not presume to judge.
In looking over the bundle of my letters to Mr. Jones I find one dated in Decr., 1780, containing a statement of what passed in the old Congress relative to the proposed cession of the Missĩppi to Spain, corresponding precisely with my recollection of it as explained to you1 I was disappointed in finding it limited to that year. My correspondence ran through a much longer period of which I have proofs on hand, and from the tenor of the above letters, & my intimacy with him, I have no doubt that my communications were often of an interesting character. Perhaps the remaining letters or a part of them may have escaped your search. Will you be so good as to renew it whenever & wherever the convenient opportunity may admit?
What is become of the Secret journals of the old Congress, & when will the press give them to the public?
A fever of the Typhus denomination, which has for some months been rambling in this district of Country, has lately found its way to this spot. Out of 14 patients within my precincts 5 have died, 2 only have perfectly recovered, & among the rest the major number are very ill. New Cases also are almost daily occurring. I have sustained a heavy loss in a young fellow who was educated in Washington a cook, & was becoming moreover a competent Gardener. I am suffering also much from the protracted illness of the man charged with my farming business, which exposes the several crops not yet secured to great neglect & waste.
We have heard nothing particularly of Mrs. Monroe’s health, which we hope has been fully restored. We have the same hope as to Mr. Gouverneur, who Mr. Hay informed me was dangerously ill. With our best wishes for you all, be assured of my affectionate respects.
TO MARQUIS DE LA FAYETTE.mad. mss.
Montpellier, Novr 25, 1820
I have received, my dear friend, your kind letter of July 22, inclosing your printed opinion on the Election project. It was very slow in reaching me.
I am very glad to find, by your letter, that you retain, undiminished the warm feelings of friendship so long reciprocal between us; and, by your “opinion,” that you are equally constant to the cause of liberty so dear to us both. I hope your struggles in it will finally prevail in the full extent required by the wishes, and adapted to the exigencies of your Country.
We feel here all the pleasure you express at the progress of reformation on your Continent. Despotism can only exist in darkness, and there are too many lights now in the political firmament, to permit it to reign any where, as it has heretofore done, almost every where. To the events in Spain & Naples has succeeded already, an auspicious epoch in Portugal. Free States seem indeed to be propagated in Europe, as rapidly as new States are on this side of the Atlantic: Nor will it be easy for their births or their growths if safe from dangers within to be strangled by external foes, who are not now sufficiently united among themselves, are controuled by the aspiring sentiments of their people, are without money of their own, and are no longer able to draw on the foreign fund which has hitherto supplied their belligerent necessities.
Here, we are, on the whole, doing well, and giving an example of a free system, which I trust will be more of a Pilot to a good Port, than a Beacon warning from a bad one. We have, it is true, occasional fevers, but they are of the transient kind flying off thro’ the surface, without preying on the vitals. A Govt. like ours has so many safety-valves giving vent to overheated passions, that it carries within itself a relief agst. the infirmities from which the best of human Institutions cannot be exempt. The subject which ruffles the surface of public affairs most at present, is furnished by the transmission of the “Territory” of Missouri from a state of nonage to a maturity for self-Govt. and for a membership in the Union. Among the questions involved in it, the one most immediately interesting to humanity is the question whether a toleration or prohibition of slavery Westward of the Mississippi, would most extend its evils. The humane part of the argument against the prohibition, turns on the position, that whilst the importation of slaves from abroad is precluded, a diffusion of those in the Country, tends at once to meliorate their actual condition, and to facilitate their eventual emancipation. Unfortunately, the subject which was settled at the last session of Congress, by a mutual concession of the parties, is reproduced on the Arena, by a clause in the Constitution of Missouri, distinguishing between free persons of Colour, and white persons; and providing that the Legislature of the new State shall exclude from it the former. What will be the issue of the revived discussion is yet to be seen. The case opens the wider field as the Constitutions & laws of the different States are much at variance in the civic character given to free people of colour; those of most of the States, not excepting such as have abolished slavery, imposing various disqualifications which degrade them from the rank & rights of white persons. All these perplexities develope more & more the dreadful fruitfulness of the original sin of the African trade.
I will not trouble you with a full Picture of our economics. The cessation of neutral gains, the fiscal derangements incident to our late war, the inundation of foreign merchandizes since, and the spurious remedies attempted by the local authorities, give to it some disagreeable features. And they are made the more so, by a remarkable downfal in the prices of two of our great Staples Breadstuffs & Tobacco, carrying privations to every man’s door, and a severe pressure to such as labour under debts for the discharge of which, they relied on crops & prices which have failed. Time however will prove a sure Physician for these maladies. Adopting the remark of a British Senator applied with less justice to his Country, at the commencement of the revolutionary Contest, we may say, that “altho’ ours may have a sickly countenance, we trust she has a strong Constitution.”
I see that the bickerings between our Govts. on the point of tonnage has not yet been terminated. The difficulty, I should flatter myself, cannot but yield to the spirit of amity, & the principles of reciprocity entertained by the parties.
You would not, believe me, be more happy to see me at lagrange, than I should be to see you at Montpr. where you wd. find as zealous a farmer, tho’ not so well cultivated a farm as Lagrange presents. As an interview can hardly be expected to take place at both, I may infer from a comparison of our ages a better chance of your crossing the Atlantic than of mine. You have also a greater inducement in the greater number of friends whose gratifications would at least equal your own. But if we are not likely to see one another, we can do what is the next best, communicate by letter what we wd most wish to express in person, and particularly can repeat those sentiments of affection & esteem, which, whether expressed or not, will ever be most sincerely felt by your old & steadfast friend.
TO FRANCIS CORBIN.1
November 26, 1820
I had the pleasure of receiving, a few days ago, your favor post-marked the 18th, in lieu of the greater pleasure with which I should have received you in propria persona. I am sorry you so readily yielded to the consideration which deprived us of it in September. The addition of your company would have been felt no otherwise than as an ingredient highly acceptable to that you would have met here, as well as to Mrs. M. and myself. For a day or two, indeed, you might have been involved in the common distress occasioned by the hopeless and expiring condition of the little son of Mrs. Scott; but even that drawback might not have taken place within the period of your visit.
You complain of the times, which are certainly very hard; but you have a great abatement of your comparative suffering in your paper funds, notwithstanding the suspension of their current productiveness. This is but a lucrum cessans. How many are feeling the damnum emergens also! Besides, in the event of a necessary sale of property, (certainly not your case,) the paper property is the only sort that can find a tolerable and certain market. Whilst I condole with you, therefore, on the hardships in which you participate, I must congratulate you on your escape from a portion which afflicts others. The general condition of these is truly lamentable. If debtors to the Banks, nothing can relieve them but a renewal of discounts, not to be looked for: if owing debts, for discharging which they have relied on crops or prices, which have failed, they have no resource but in the sale of property, which none are able to purchase. With respect to all these, the times are hard indeed; the more so, as an early change is so little within the reach of any fair calculation.
I do not mean to discuss the question how far slavery and farming are incompatible. Our opinions agree as to the evil, moral, political, and economical, of the former. I still think, notwithstanding, that under all the disadvantages of slave cultivation, much improvement in it is practicable. Proofs are annually taking place within my own sphere of observation; particularly where slaves are held in small numbers, by good masters and managers. As to the very wealthy proprietors, much less is to be said. But after all, (protesting against any inference of a disposition to underrate the evil of slavery,) is it certain that in giving to your wealth a new investment, you would be altogether freed from the cares and vexations incident to the shape it now has? If converted into paper, you already feel some of the contingencies belonging to it; if into commercial stock, look at the wrecks every where giving warning of the danger. If into large landed property, where there are no slaves, will you cultivate it yourself? Then beware of the difficulty of procuring faithful or complying labourers. Will you dispose of it in leases? Ask those who have made the experiment what sort of tenants are to be found where an ownership of the soil is so attainable. It has been said that America is a country for the poor, not for the rich. There would be more correctness in saying it is the country for both, where the latter have a relish for free government; but, proportionally, more for the former than for the latter.
Having no experience on the subject myself, I cannot judge of the numerical point at which congratulations on additional births cease to be appropriate. I hope that your 7th son will in due time prove that in his case, at least, they were amply called for; and that Mrs. C. and yourself may long enjoy the event as an addition to your happiness.
Mrs. M. unites with me in this, and in every assurance of respect and good wishes to you both.
TO JAMES MONROE.mad. mss.
Montpellier, Decr. 28, 1820.
I have received your two favors of the 10th & 23d inst. The prospect of a favorable issue to the difficulties with Spain, is very agreeable. I hope the ratification will arrive without Clogs on it; and that the acquisition of Florida will give no new stimulus to the Spirit excited by the case of Missouri. I am glad to learn that a termination of this case, also is not despaired of. If the new State is to be admitted with a proviso, none better occurs than a declaration that its admission is not to imply an opinion in Congress that its Constitution will be less subject to be tested & controuled by the Constitution of the U. S. than if formed after its admission, or than the Constitutions of other States now members of the Union.
It is a happy circumstance that the discussions renewed by the offensive clause introduced by Missouri, are marked by such mitigated feelings in Congress. It argues well as to the ultimate effect which you anticipate. The spirit and manner of conducting the opposition to the new State, with the palpable efforts to kindle lasting animosity between Geographical divisions of the nation will have a natural tendency, when the feverish crisis shall have passed, to reunite those who never differed as to the essential principles and the true policy of the Govt.. This salutary reaction will be accelerated by candor & conciliation on one side appealing to like dispositions on the other; & it would be still farther promoted by a liberality with regard to all depending measures, on which local interests may seem to be somewhat at variance, and may perhaps be so for a time.
Your dispositions towards Mr. T. Coxe are such as I had counted on. I shall regret, if it so happen, that nothing can properly be done for him. I feel a sincere interest in behalf of Doct Eustis.1 The expedient at which you glance would I suppose be in itself an appropriate provision; but I am sensible of the delicacy of the considerations which I perceive weigh with you. I wish he could have been made the Govr. of his State. It would have closed his public career with the most apt felicity.
Is not the law vacating periodically the described offices an encroachment on the Constitutional attributes of the Executive?1 The creation of the office is a legislative act, the appointment of the officer, the joint act of the President & Senate; the tenure of the Office, (the judiciary excepted,) is the pleasure of the P. alone; so decided at the commencement of the Govt. so acted on since, and so expressed in the commission. After the appointment has been made neither the Senate nor H. of Reps have any power relating to it; unless in the event of an impeachment by the latter, and a judicial decision by the former; or unless in the exercise of a legislative power by both, abolishing the office itself, by which the officer indirectly looses his place; and even in this case, if the office were abolished merely to get rid of the tenant, and with a view, by its reestablishment, to let in a new one, on whom the Senate would have a negative, it would be a virtual infringement of the constitutional distribution of the powers of Government. If a law can displace an officer at every period of 4 years, it can do so at the end of every year, or at every session of the Senate, and the tenure will then be the pleasure of the Senate, as much as of the President, & not of the P. alone. Other very interesting views might be taken of the subject. I never read if I ever saw the debates on the passage of the law. Nor have I looked for precedents which may have countenanced it. I suspect that these are confined to the Territories, that they had their origin in the ordinance of the old Congress in whom all powers of Govt. were confounded; and that they were followed by the New Congs. who have exercised a very undefined and irregular authority within the Territorial limits; the Judges themselves being commissioned from time to time, and not during good behaviour, or the continuance of their offices.
[1 ]See ante, Vol. VII., p. 162. Peletiah Webster’s pamphlet was: A Dissertation on the Political Union and Constitution of the Thirteen United States of North America: which is necessary to their Preservation and Happiness, humbly offered to the Public, by a Citizen of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: 1783. It was reprinted in 1908, as Pub. Doc. 461, 60th Cong., 1st Sess. (Senate.)
[1 ]The Journal, Acts and Proceedings of the Convention, etc., Boston, 1819, published by authority of joint resolution of Congress of March 27, 1818. Ante, III., p. xiv.
[1 ]The Missouri Act was approved March 6, 1820. Section 8 read: “That in all that territory ceded by France to the United States, under the name of Louisiana, which lies north of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes north latitude, not included within the limits of the State contemplated by this act, slavery and involuntary servitude, otherwise than in punishment of crimes . . . shall be and is hereby forever prohibited.”—3 Stat., 548.
[1 ]Williams submitted a pamphlet on the causes of the commercial depression and a plan for reforming the currency.—Mad. MSS.
[1 ]From the original kindly loaned by Fredk. D. McGuire, Esq., of Washington.
[1 ]See ante, Vol. IV., p. 396.
[1 ]John W. Taylor, of New York, was elected speaker. The debate on the question of the admission of Missouri began November 23d.—Annals of Congress, 16th Cong., 2d Sess., p. 453.
[1 ]Coxe was not appointed. He died in 1824 aged seventy years.
[1 ]The letter is dated November 25, 1780.—Ante, Vol. I., p. 101.
[1 ]From Madison’s Works (Cong. Ed.). Corbin’s letter said that slavery and farming were incompatible and that he was thinking of emigrating to the North.—Mad. MSS.
[1 ]William Eustis was elected to Congress from Massachusetts in 1820 and served till 1823, when he was elected Governor of Massachusetts, holding the office until his death in 1825.
[1 ]The act of May 15, 1820, “to limit the term of office of certain officers,” provided that district attorneys, collectors of customs, naval officers, surveyors of customs, navy agents, receivers of public moneys for lands, registers of the land offices, paymasters in the army, the apothecary general, the assistant apothecaries general and the commissary general of purchases should be appointed for a term of four years, but should be removable at pleasure.