Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1794: SPEECH ON DISCRIMINATING DUTIES—JANUARY 3, 1794. 1 - The Writings, vol. 6 (1790-1802)
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1794: SPEECH ON DISCRIMINATING DUTIES—JANUARY 3, 1794. 1 - James Madison, The Writings, vol. 6 (1790-1802) 
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. 6.
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SPEECH ON DISCRIMINATING DUTIES—JANUARY 3, 1794.1
Mr. Madison, after some general observations on the Report [of the Secretary of State on commerce], entered into a more particular consideration of the subject. He remarked, that the commerce of the United States is not, at this day, on that respectable footing to which, from its nature and importance, it is entitled. He recurred to its situation previous to the adoption of the Constitution, when conflicting systems prevailed in the different States. The then existing state of things gave rise to that Convention of Delegates from the different parts of the Union, who met to deliberate on some general principles for the regulation of commerce, which might be conducive, in their operation, to the general welfare, and that such measures should be adopted as would conciliate the friendship and good faith of those countries who were disposed to enter into the nearest commercial connexions with us. But what has been the result of the system which has been pursued ever since? What is the present situation of our commerce? From the situation in which we find ourselves after four years’ experiment, he observed, that it appeared incumbent on the United States to see whether they could not now take measures promotive of those objects for which the Government was in a great degree instituted. Measures of moderation, firmness, and decision, he was persuaded, were now necessary to be adopted, in order to narrow the sphere of our commerce with those nations who see proper not to meet us on terms of reciprocity.
Mr. M. then read the following resolutions:
“Resolved, as the opinion of this committee, That the interest of the United States would be promoted by further restrictions and higher duties, in certain cases, on the manufactures and navigation of foreign nations employed in the commerce of the United States, than those now imposed.
“1. Resolved, as the opinion of this committee, That an additional duty ought to be laid on the following articles, manufactured by European nations having no commercial treaty with the United States: On all articles of which leather is the material of chief value, an additional duty of — per centum ad valorem; on all manufactured iron, steel, tin, pewter, copper, brass, or articles of which either of these metals is the material of chief value, an additional duty of — per centum ad valorem; on all articles of which cotton is the material of chief value, an additional duty of — per centum ad valorem; on all cloths of which wool is the material of chief value, where the estimated value on which the duty is payable, is above —, an additional duty of — per centum ad valorem; where such value is below —, an additional duty of — per centum ad valorem; on all cloths of which hemp or flax is the material of chief value, and of which the estimated value on which the duty is payable is below —, an additional duty of — per centum ad valorem; on all manufactures of which silk is the material of chief value, an additional duty of — per centum ad valorem.
“2. Resolved, as the opinion of this committee, That an additional duty of — per ton, ought to be laid on the vessels belonging to the nations having no commercial treaty with the United States.
“3. Resolved, as the opinion of this committee, That the duty on vessels belonging to the nations having commercial treaties with the United States, ought to be reduced to — per ton.
“4. Resolved, as the opinion of this committee, That where any nation may refuse to consider as vessels of the United States, any vessels not built within the United States, the foreign built vessels of such nation ought to be subjected to a like refusal, unless built within the United States.
“5. Resolved, as the opinion of this committee, That, where any nation may refuse to admit the produce or manufactures of the United States, unless in vessels belonging to the United States, or to admit them in vessels of the United States, if last imported from any place not within the United States, a like restriction ought, after the — day of —, to be extended to the produce and manufactures of such nation, and that, in the mean time, a duty of — per ton extraordinary ought to be imposed on vessels so importing any such produce or manufacture.
“6. Resolved, as the opinion of this committee, That, where any nation may refuse to the vessels of the United States a carriage of the produce or manufactures thereof, whilst such produce or manufactures are admitted by it in its own vessels it would be just to make the restriction reciprocal; but, inasmuch as such a measure, if suddenly adopted, might be particularly distressing in cases which merit the benevolent attention of the United States, it is expedient, for the present, that a tonnage extraordinary only of —, be imposed on the vessels so employed; and that all distilled spirits imported therein shall be subject to an additional duty of one — part of the existing duty.
“7. Resolved, as the opinion of this committee, That provision ought to be made for liquidating and ascertaining the losses sustained by citizens of the United States, from the operation of particular regulations of any country contravening the Law of Nations, and that such losses be reimbursed, in the first instance, out of the additional duties on the manufactures, productions, and vessels of the nation establishing such unlawful regulations.”
Mr. M. took a general view of the probable effects which the adoption of something like the resolutions he had proposed, would produce. They would produce, respecting many articles imported, a competition which would enable countries who do not now supply us with those articles, to do it, and would increase the encouragement on such as we can produce within ourselves. We should also obtain an equitable share in carrying our own produce; we should enter into the field of competition on equal terms, and enjoy the actual benefit of advantages which nature and the spirit of our people entitle us to.
He adverted to the advantageous situation this country is entitled to stand in, considering the nature of our exports and returns. Our exports are bulky, and therefore must employ much shipping, which might be nearly all our own: our exports are chiefly necessaries of life, or raw materials, the food for the manufacturers of other nations. On the contrary, the chief of what we receive from other countries, we can either do without, or produce substitutes.
It is in the power of the United States, he conceived, by exerting her natural rights, without violating the rights, or even the equitable pretensions of other nations—by doing no more than most nations do for the protection of their interests, and much less than some, to make her interests respected; for, what we receive from other nations are but luxuries to us which, if we choose to throw aside, we could deprive part of the manufacturers of those luxuries, of even bread, if we are forced, to the contest of self-denial. This being the case, our country may make her enemies feel the extent of her power. We stand, with respect to the nation exporting those luxuries, in the relation of an opulent individual to the laborer, in producing the superfluities for his accommodation; the former can do without those luxuries, the consumption of which gives bread to the latter
He did not propose, or wish that the United States should, at present, go so far in the line which his resolutions point to, as they might go. The extent to which the principles involved in those resolutions should be carried, will depend upon filling up the blanks. To go to the very extent of the principle immediately, might be inconvenient. He wished, only, that the Legislature should mark out the ground on which we think we can stand; perhaps it may produce the effect wished for, without unnecessary irritation; we need not at first go every length.
Another consideration would induce him, he said, to be moderate in filling up the blanks—not to wound public credit. He did not wish to risk any sensible diminution of the public revenue. He believed that if the blanks were filled with judgment, the diminution of the revenue, from a diminution in the quantity of imports, would be counterbalanced by the increase in the duties.
The last resolution he had proposed, he said, is, in a manner, distinct from the rest. The nation is bound by the most sacred obligation, he conceived, to protect the rights of its citizens against a violation of them from any quarter; or, if they cannot protect, they are bound to repay the damage.
It is a fact authenticated to this House by communications from the Executive, that there are regulations established by some European nations, contrary to the Law of Nations, by which our property is seized and disposed of in such a way that damages have accrued. We are bound either to obtain reparation for the injustice, or compensate the damage. It is only in the first instance, no doubt, that the burden is to be thrown upon the United States. The proper Department of Government will, no doubt, take proper steps to obtain redress. The justice of foreign nations will certainly not permit them to deny reparation when the breach of the Law of Nations appear evidently; at any rate, it is just that the individual should not suffer. He believed the amount of the damages that would come within the meaning of this resolution, would not be very considerable.
TO HORATIO GATES.1
Philada Mar. 24, 1794.
Your favor of the 19th has lain by me unanswered till I could give you the result of a proposition for an Embargo discussed for several days with shut doors. The decision did not take place till friday afternoon. The measure was then negatived by 48 agst 46 votes. Those who took the lead in opposing it are now for transferring the power to the Executive even during the Session of Congress.
You will find in the newspapers the havoc made on our trade in the W. Indies. Every day adds new proofs of the ill will and contempt of G. B. towards us. Still I do not concur with those who see in these proceedings a design to make war in form. If she can destroy the branches of our commerce which are beneficial to her enemies, and continue to enjoy those which are beneficial to herself, things are in the best possible arrangement for her. War would turn the arrangement agst her by breaking up the trade with her, and forcing that with her enemies. I conclude therefore that she will push her aggressions just so far and no farther, than she imagines we will tolerate. I conclude also that the readiest expedient for stopping her career of depredation on those parts of our trade which thwart her plans, will be to make her feel for those which she cannot do without.
I have nothing to add to the newspaper details with respect to events in Europe. The campaign seems to have closed as triumphantly for the French Republic as the fears of its enemies could have foreboded. If that in the W. Indies should not exhibit a reverse of fortune, the public attention may possibly be called off from the French to “the British Revolution,” you may then renew your prophetic wishes which have created a millenium under the auspices of the three great Republics. . . .
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.mad. mss.
Mar: 26 1794.
My last informed you that an embargo had been proposed & negatived. You will see by the inclosed that on a renewal of the proposition yesterday it went through the H. of Reps by a very large majority. The change took place among the Eastern members whose constituents were growing so clamorous under their losses in the W. Indies as to alarm the representatives. The Senate will have the subject before them today, and will probably concur. It is said that some further measures are to be discussed in that House. The Commercial propositions have not yet recd a vote. The progress of the evils which they were to remedy, having called for more active medicine, it has not been deemed prudent to force them on the attention of the House during more critical discussions. They will however notwithstanding a change of circumstances, co-operate with other measures as an alternative system and will be pressed to a vote at the first favorable moment. Whether they can be carried into a law at the present session is doubtful, on acct of the lateness of the day, and the superior urgency of other questions. The point immediately depending is the discrimination between G. B. and other nations as to the proposed duties on manufactures. If this should succeed, the future parts will I think meet with little difficulty. The enquiry into the Treasury is going on, tho’ not very rapidly. I understand that it begins to pinch where we most expected—the authority for drawing the money from Europe into the Bank. He endeavoured to parry the difficulty by contesting the right of the Committee to call for the authority. This failing he talks of constructive written authority from the P. but relies on parol authority, which I think it impossible the P. can support him in. The old question of referring the origination of Taxes comes on to-day, and will in some degree test the present character of the House. I have written an abundance of letters of late, but fear they are stopped by the small pox at Richmond.
The people of Charleston are taking a high tone. Their memorial, which is signed by Ramsay, the Gadzdens Young Rutledge and a very great number of respectable Citizens, marks the deliberate sense of her people. The more violent has been expressed by hanging & burning the effigies of Smith Ames Arnold, Dumouriez & the Devil, en groupe.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.mad. mss.
Phila Apl 28, 1794.
. . . The non-importation bill has passed the H. of Reps by 59 agst 34. It will probably miscarry in the Senate. It prohibits all articles of British or Irish production after the 1st Novr, until the claims of the U. S. be adjusted and satisfied. The appointment of H. as envoy Extry was likely to produce such a sensation that to his great mortification he was laid aside & Jay named in his place. The appointment of the latter would have been difficult in the Senate, but for some adventitious causes. There were 10 votes agst him in one form of the opposition and 8 on the direct question. As a resignation of his Judiciary character might, for anything known to the Senate, have been intended to follow his acceptance of the Ex. trust, the ground of incompatibility could not support the objections, which, since it has appeared that such a resignation was no part of the arrangement, are beginning to be pressed in the Newspapers. If animadversions are undertaken by skilful hands, there is no measure of the Ex. administration perhaps that will be found more severely vulnerable.
The English prints breathe an unabated zeal for the war agst France. The Minister carries everything as usual in Parlt notwithstanding the miscarriages at Toulon &c; and his force will be much increased by the taking of Martinique, and the colouring it will give to the W. India prospects. Nothing further appears as to the views prevailing in relation to us. The latter accts from the W. Inds since the new Instruction of Jany 8 are rather favorable to the Merchants, & alleviate their resentments; so that G. B. seems to have derived from the excess of her aggressions a title to commit them in a less degree with impunity. The French arms continue to prosper, tho’ no very capital event is brought by the latest arrivals.
TO JAMES MADISON.mad. mss.
Philada May 4 1794.
By a vessel which sails for Fredg to-day I have sent a small box containing the following articles 6 ps very coarse muslins, 1 ps of finer, 2lb of Tea, 3 Books on Medicine & a few pamphlets, a sett of marking instruments. The muslins were bought as being extremely cheap, and useful for various purposes. If my mother or sister wants any part of them they will make free with them. If the finer piece should not be applicable to any better purpose, I allotted it for shirts, in which it is said to wear as well as linnen. The coarser ps I supposed might be dealt out in parts to my negro women if thought proper as far as would give them each some kind of garment. The cost would be a trifle and they wd probably be better pleased than with some thing in the ordinary way of greater value. I wish however that use may be made of them as already hinted. The coarse ps cost about 4 dols each. The fine one abt 4s. Va Curry a yard. The two books by Hamilton are for Dr. Taylor whom you will ask to accept of them. The other by Waller I send for yourself. It is said to be an able performance. If Dr. Taylor on perusal of it shd wish a copy, I will forward one for him. You will find that I have recovered the pamphlet by the French Chymist on the mineral waters of Virga. The Squash seed is of the same kind with that inclosed lately in a letter.
As I retain the conviction I brought from home in favr of the Mill at my brothers, I have been endeavoring to dispose of the piece of land on the Mohawk river.1 But the acct I have of it embarrasses me. I perceive that by selling it now, I shall get 40 or 50 per Ct less than it will probably fetch in a year or two. I am assured by correct & authentic information that it is of the best quality, that the country is rapidly settling all around it. That the navigation of the river will soon be opened, and that at a very few miles distance land of the same quality sells for 8 or 10 dollars an acre. Within three miles lotts in a town lately laid out sell for £50 an acre and are with difficulty got for that. I can not at present get more than 4 or 5 dollrs an acre. The gentleman who gave me my information is a respectable lawyer residing within three miles of the land and intimately acquainted with it as well as with that part of the Country. He writes me that within 2 years past similar lands have risen at least 50 per Ct & that the prospect of future rise is at least as great. Notwithstanding these favorable circumstances I am so much disposed to forward the plan of the Mill which I view as particularly favorable to the interest of my brothers as well as myself, that If a pursuit of it depends materially on my contribution, I shall not hesitate to make the sacrifice. Whether this be the case you can best decide & I will thank you for a line on the subject immediately on the receipt of this. Perhaps your funds may be competent to the demands of the present year. I am persuaded also that notwithstanding the low rate of the [illegible] paper, there would be less loss in your sale of that than I should suffer from the present sale of the land.
The bill for suspending importations from G. B. & Ireland which passed the H of Reps by 59 agst 34 was rejected in the Senate, who are determined to rely on the extraordinary mission of Jay to sue for satisfaction. The H. of Reps are occupied with new taxes to defray the expence of the naval armament, the fortifications &c. An increase of the impost, a stamp tax, further excises and a land tax are all proposed. I much fear that the aversion to the last will soon involve this Country in the pernicious revenue system of Europe and without ultimately avoiding the thing dreaded, as a land tax will be sure to be added on the first great occasion that may arise. It is not certain how much longer the session will be spun out. I hope it will end at farthest within the present month. If I should determine to make above mentioned, I shall probably be obliged to make a trip to New York before I return to Virginia.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.mad. mss.
Philada, May 25, 1794.
Your favr. of the 15th Inst: came to hand yesterday. I will procure you the “definition of parties” and one or two other things from the press which merit a place in your archives. Osnabrigs can be had here. Negro Cotton I am told can also be had: but of this I am not sure. I learn nothing yet of Blake.
The inclosed paper will give you the correspondence of E. R. & Hammond on an occurrence particularly interesting. You will be as able to judge as we are of the calculations to be founded on it. The embargo expires to-day. A proposition some days ago for continuing it was negatived by a vast majority; all parties in the main concurring. The Republican was assured that the Embargo if continued would be considered by France as hostility. The other had probably an opposite motive. It now appears that throughout the Continent the people were anxious for its continuance, & it is probable that its expiration will save the W. Inds from famine, without affording any sensible aid to France. A motion was put on the table yesterday for re-enacting it. Measures of this sort are not the fashion. To supplicate for peace, and under the uncertainty of success, to prepare for war by taxes & troops is the policy which now triumphs under the patronage of the Executive. Every attack on G. B. thro’ her comerce is at once discomfited; & all the taxes, that is to say excises, stamps, &c. are carried by decided majorities. The plan for a large army has failed several times in the H. of Reps. It is now to be sent from the Senate, and being recommended by the Message of the P., accompanying the intelligence from the Miami, will probably succeed. The influence of the Ex. on events, the use made of them, and the public confidence in the P. are an overmatch for all the efforts Republicanism can make. The party of that sentiment in the Senate is compleatly wrecked; and in the H. of Reps in a much worse condition than at an earlier period of the Session.1
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.mad. mss.
Philada, June 1, 1794.
The stamp act was poisoned by the ingredient of the tax on transfers. The sentinels of stock uniting with the adversaries of the general plan formed a large majority. The Carriage tax which only struck at the Constitution has passed the H. of Reps and will be a delicious morsel to the Senate.2 The attempt of this Branch to give the P. power to raise an army of 10,000, if he should please, was strangled more easily in the H. of Reps than I had expected. This is the 3d or 4th effort made in the course of the Session to get a powerful military establishment, under the pretext of public danger and under the auspices of the Pts popularity. The bill for punishing certain crimes &c. including that of selling prizes has been unexpectedly called up at the last moment of the Session. It is pretended that our Citizens will arm under French colors if not restrained. You will be at no loss for the real motive, especially as explained by the circumstances of the present crisis. The bill for complying with Fauchèt’s application for a million of dollars passed the H. of Reps by a large majority. The Senate will certainly reject it. Col. M. is busy in preparing for his embarkation. He is puzzled as to the mode of getting to France. He leans towards an American vessel, which is to sail from Baltimore for Amsterdam. A direct passage to F. is scracely to be had, and is incumbered with the risk of being captured & carried into England. It is not certain that Negro Cotton can be had here. German linens of all sorts can. Nothing of Blake. Tomorrow is the day of adjournment as fixed by the vote of the two Houses; but it will probably not take place till the last of the week. We have had 8 or 10 days of wet weather from the N. E. which seems at length to be breaking up.
TO JAMES MONROE.mad. mss.
Philada, Decr 4, 1794.
I did not receive your favor of Sepr 2d, the only one yet come to hand, till yesterday. The account of your arrival and reception had some time ago found its way to us thro’ the English Gazettes. The language of your address to the Convention was certainly very grating to the ears of many here; and would no doubt have employed the tongues and the pens too of some of them, if external as well as internal circumstances had not checked them; but more particularly, the appearance about the same time of the Presidents letter and those of the Secretary of State.1 Malicious criticisms if now made at all are confined to the little circles which relish that kind of food. The sentiments of the P. will be best communicated by Mr. R. You are right in your conjecture, both as to the facility given to the Envoy Extry by the triumphs of France, and the artifice of referring it to other causes. The prevailing idea here is that the Mission will be successful, tho’ it is scarcely probable that it will prove so in any degree commensurate to our rights, or even to the expectations which have been raised: Whilst no industry is spared to prepare the public mind to eccho the praises which will be rung to the address of the Negociator, and the policy of defeating the commercial resolutions proposed at the last session. It will not be easy however to hide from the view of the judicious & well disposed part of the community that every thing that may be obtained from G. B. will have been yielded by the fears inspired by those retaliating measures, and by the state of affairs in Europe.
You will learn from the Newspapers and official communications the unfortunate scene in the Western parts of Penna which unfolded itself during the recess.1 The history of its remote & immediate causes, the measures produced by it, and the manner in which it has been closed, does not fall within the compass of a letter. It is probable also that many explanatory circumstances are yet but imperfectly known. I can only refer to the printed accounts which you will receive from the Department of State, and the comments which your memory will assist you in making on them. The event was in several respects a critical one for the cause of liberty, and the real authors of it, if not in the service, were in the most effectual manner, doing the business of Despotism. You well know the general tendency of insurrections to increase the momentum of power. You will recollect the particular effect of what happened some years ago in Massachts. Precisely the same calamity was to be dreaded on a larger scale in this Case. There were eno’ as you may well suppose, ready to give the same turn to the crisis, and to propagate the same impressions from it. It happened most auspiciously however that with a spirit truly Republican, the people every where and of every description condemned the resistance of the will of the Majority, and obeyed with alacrity the call to vindicate the authority of the laws. You will see, in the answer of the House of Reps to the P’s speech, that the most was made of this circumstance, as an antidote to the poisonous influence to which Republicanism was exposed. If the insurrection had not been crushed in the manner it was I have no doubt that a formidable attempt would have been made to establish the principle that a standing army was necessary for enforcing the laws. When I first came to this City about the middle of October, this was the fashionable language. Nor am I sure that the attempt would not have been made if the P. could have been embarked in it, and particularly if the temper of N. England had not been dreaded on this point. I hope we are over that danger for the present. You will readily understand the business detailed in the Newspapers, relating to the denunciation of the “self-created Societies.”1 The introduction of it by the President was perhaps the greatest error of his political life. For his sake, as well as for a variety of obvious reasons, I wished it might be passed over in silence by the H. of Reps. The answer was penned with that view and so reported. This moderate course would not satisfy those who hoped to draw a party advantage out of the P’s popularity. The game was, to connect the democratic Societies with the odium of the insurrection—to connect the Republicans in Congs with those Societies—to put the P. ostensibly at the head of the other party, in opposition to both, and by these means prolong the illusions in the North, & try a new experiment on the South. To favor the project, the answer of the Senate was accelerated & so framed as to draw the P. into the most pointed reply on the subject of the Societies. At the same time the answer of the H. of R. was procrastinated till the example of the Senate, & the commitment of the P. could have their full operation. You will see how nicely the House was divided, and how the matter went off. As yet, the discussion has not been revived by the newspaper combatants. If it should and equal talents be opposed, the result cannot fail to wound the P’s popularity more than anything that has yet happened. It must be seen that no two principles can be either more indefensible in reason, or more dangerous in practice—than that—1. arbitrary denunciations may punish what the law permits, & what the Legislature has no right by law, to prohibit—and that 2. the Govt may stifle all censure whatever on its misdoings, for if it be itself the Judge it will never allow any censures to be just, and if it can suppress censures flowing from one lawful source it may those flowing from any other—from the press and from individuals, as well as from Societies, &c.
The elections for the H. of Reps are over in N. Eng. & Pa. In Massts they have been contested so generally as to rouse the people compleatly from their lethargy, tho’ not sufficiently to eradicate the errors which have prevailed there. The principal members have been all severely pushed; several changes have taken place, rather for the better; and not one for the worse. In Pa Republicanism claims 9 out of 13, notwithstanding the very disadvantageous circumstances under which the election was made. In N. Y. it is expected the proportion of sound men will be increased. In Maryland, the choice has been much as heretofore. Virga & N. C. will probably make no changes for the worse. In the former, Mr. Griffin resigns his pretensions. Mr. Lee will probably either do so or be dropped by his Constituents. In S. Carolina the death of Gillon will probably let in Mr. Barnwell. In Delaware Patton is elected, in lieu of Latimer. On the whole the prospect is rather improved than otherwise. The election of Swanwick as a Republican, by the Commercial & political Metropolis of the U. S. in preference to Fitzsimmons is of itself of material consequence, and is so felt by the party to which the latter belongs. For what relates to the Senate I trust to the letters which you will receive from Brown & Langdon, whom I have apprized of this opportunity of answering yours. I shall observe only that Tazewell & S. Tho: Mason were elected by the most decided majorities, to fill your vacancy and that of Col. Taylor who gave in his resignation. Not a single Anti-republican was started. Mr. Dawson was a candidate and got 40 votes agst 122. Brooke is also Govr by a pretty decided vote. He had 90 odd, agst 60 odd given to Wood, his only competitor.
I had a letter lately from Mr. Jefferson. He has been confined by the Rheumatism since August, and is far from being entirely recovered. Mr. T. M. Randolph has also been in a ticklish situation. What it is at present I cannot say. Mr. Jones was well a few days ago. He was then setting out to Loudon where he has made a great purchase of land from Col. Chs. Carter. I infer from his letters to me that you are included in it. He will no doubt write you fully on that subject, or more probably has written already.
I have not recd anything from Wilkinson, nor from Vermont; nor heard anything relating to your interests in N. York. I have given notice to Mr. Yard and Docr Stephen, of this conveyance and expect both will write. Mrs. Heilager is also here on her way to St. Croix and will no doubt write to Mrs. Monroe. She tells me all friends are well in N. York. I hope her letter will give all the particulars which may be interesting.
When in Albemarle last fall I visited your farm along with Mr. Jefferson, and viewed the sites out of which a choice is to be made for your house. The one preferred by us is that which we favored originally on the East side of the road, near the field not long since opened. All that could be suggested by way of preparation was, that trees be planted promiscuously & pretty thickly in the field adjoining the wood. In general your farm appeared to be as well as was to be expected. Your upper farm I did not see, being limited in my stay in that quarter.
I have just seen Mr. Ross, who tells me he has recd your letter. He would write by this opportunity but wishes to be more full than the time will permit. We expect another will offer in a few weeks when we shall all continue our communications. I should say more to you now, if I could say it in cypher.
Present my best respects to Mrs. Monroe and Eliza, and tell them I shall be able on their return to present them with a new acquaintance who is prepared by my representations to receive them with all the affection they merit, & who I flatter myself will be entitled to theirs. The event which puts this in my power took place on the 15th of Sepr.1 We are at present inhabitants of the House which you occupied last winter & shall continue in it during the session. With my sincerest wishes for your happiness and that of your amiable family, I remain affectionately.
Hamilton has given notice that he means to resign. Knox means to do the same. It is conjectured that the former will contend for the Govt of N. York. Burr will be the competitor.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.mad. mss.
Philada, Decr 21, 1794.
Your favor of the 9th, by the Orange post arrived here on the 18th; that of the 12 by the Richmond post, on the 20th so that it appears the latter was one day less on the way. It is to be remarked however that as the Orange post leaves Charlottesville on tuesday he might easily be in Fredericksburg on thursday, in time for the mail which passes thro’ it on that day to Dumfries. If this despatch is not required of him it ought to be. It would make a difference of two days in the journey. Or at least the post might wait a day in Charlottesville and be in time for the saturday’s mail at Fredericksburg.
Our weather here has been as fine as you describe yours. Yesterday there was a change. It was cold, cloudy, and inclined to snow. To-day we have a bright day, and not very cold. Prices here are very different from yours. Wheat is at 13 or 14s. & flour in proportion. In general, things are 50 Per Ct beyond the prices of last winter. The phenomenon you wish to have explained is as little understood here as with you; but it would be here quite unfashionable to suppose it needed explanations. It is impossible to give you an idea of the force with which the tide has set in a particular direction. It has been too violent not to be soon followed by a change. In fact I think a change has begun already. The danger will then be of as violent a reflux to the opposite extreme.
The attack made on the essential & constitutional right of the Citizen in the blow levelled at the “self-created Societies,” does not appear to have had the effect intended. It is and must be felt by every man who values liberty whatever opinions he may have of the use or abuse of it by those institutions. You will see that the appeal is begun to the public sentiment by the injured parties. The Republican society of Baltimore set the example. That of Newark has advertised a meeting of its members. It is said that if Edwd Livingston, as is generally believed, has outvoted Watts for the H. of Reps he is indebted for it to the invigorated exertions of the Democratic society of that place, of which he is himself a member. In Boston the subject is well understood, and handled in the Newspapers on the republican side with industry & address.
The elections in Massts have turned out rather better than was of late expected. The two republican members have stood their ground; in spite of the most unexampled operations agst them. Ames is said to owe his success to the votes of negroes & British sailors smuggled under a very lax mode of conducting the election there. Sedgwick & Goodhue have bare majorities. Dexter is to run another heat, but will succeed; Gerry, his only considerable competitor, & who would outvote him, refusing to be elected. There are several changes in the remainder of the Delegation, and some of them greatly for the better. In New York there will be at least half republicans; perhaps more. It has unluckily happened that in 2 Districts two republicans set up agst one Anti. The consequence is that a man is re-elected who would not otherwise have taken the field; and there is some danger of a similar consequence in the other district. In N. Jersey, it is said that not more than one of the old members will be returned. The people all over the State are signing with avidity a remonstrance against the high salaries of the Govt.
Hamilton is to resign, according to his own notification the last of Feby. His object is not yet unfolded. Knox as the shadow follows the substance. Their successors are not yet designated by any circumstance that has escaped.
What think you of a project to disfranchise the insurgent Counties by a bill of exclusion agst their Reps in the State Legislature? The object is to pave the way for Bingham or Fitzsimmons as Senator, & to give an example for rejecting Galatin in the H. of Reps at the next Congress of which he is a member. The proposition has been laid on the table and the event is uncertain. There is some probability the violence of the measure may defeat it; nor is it certain I am told that if carried thro’ it would answer the purpose of its authors.
[1 ]Annals of Congress, 3d Cong., 1793-1795, 155. A test vote in Committee of the Whole showed that the House favored Madison’s resolutions, but before they could be acted upon reports of fresh British outrages arrived and gave a more warlike turn to American legislation. Madison made a long and detailed explanation and defense of his resolutions, January 29. Annals, 566.
[1 ]From the Chamberlain MSS., Boston Public Library. The letter was in reply to one from Gates calling Madison, in consequence of his commercial resolutions, the coming man of America.
[1 ]Madison sold the tract, about 900 acres, to Theodorus Bailey and John B. Van Wyck for five dollars an acre, January 5, 1796.—Mad. MSS. See his letter to Jefferson, August 12, 1786. Ante, vol. ii., p. 265.
[1 ]The tension between the parties in Congress had become so great that Rufus King, Senator from New York, on May 11 proposed to John Taylor of Caroline, Senator from Virginia, that they agree on the terms of a peaceful dissolution of the Union. Taylor and Madison, to whom the conversation was reported, would not agree, and Madison thought King’s proposal was made “probably in terrorem.” See Disunion Sentiment in Congress in 1794 (Hunt), Washington, 1905, in which Taylor’s memorandum of the conversation with King and Oliver Ellsworth is given.
[2 ]The law laying a tax on carriages was passed June 5. In 1796 its constitutionality was tested before the Supreme Court, and the Court decided that being an indirect tax it was constitutional. Judge Samuel Chase, a fiery federalist, closed his opinion with this sentence: “As I do not think the tax on carriages is a direct tax, it is unnecessary, at this time, for me to determine, whether this court, constitutionally possesses the power to declare an act of Congress void, on the ground of its being made contrary to, and in violation of, the Constitution; but if the Court have such power, I am free to declare, that I will never exercise it, but in a very clear case.” 3 Dallas, 171.
[1 ]See Writings of Monroe (Hamilton), ii., 11 et seq.
[1 ]The Whiskey Rebellion.
[1 ]“The very forbearance to press prosecutions was misinterpreted into a fear of urging the execution of the laws; and associations of men began to denounce threats against the officers employed. From a belief, that, by a more formal concert, their operation might be defeated, certain self-created societies assumed the tone of condemnation.”—Washinton’s speech to Congress, November 19, 1794. Writings (Ford), xii., 491.
[1 ]Madison and Dolly Payne Todd were married by Rev. Dr. Balmaine, an Episcopal clergyman of Winchester, Va., a cousin of Madison’s, on September 15, 1794, at “Harewood,” near Charlestown, W. Va., the estate of George Steptoe Washington, a nephew of General Washington’s, and the husband of Mrs. Madison’s sister.