Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1797: TO THOMAS JEFFERSON. mad. mss. - The Writings, vol. 6 (1790-1802)
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1797: TO THOMAS JEFFERSON. mad. mss. - 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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TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.mad. mss.
Philada, Jany 15, 1797.
The last mail brought me your favour of Jany 1, inclosing an unsealed one for Mr. A. & submitting to my discretion the eligibility of delivering it. In exercising this delicate trust I have felt no small anxiety, arising by no means however from an apprehension that a free exercise of it could be in collision with your real purpose, but from a want of confidence in myself, & the importance of a wrong judgment in the case. After the best consideration I have been able to bestow, I have been led to suspend the delivery of the letter, till you should have an opportunity of deciding on the sufficiency or insufficiency of the following reasons. 1. It is certain that Mr. Adams, on his coming to this place, expressed to different persons a respectful cordiality towards you, & manifested a sensibility to the candid manner in which your friends had in general conducted the opposition to him. And it is equally known that your sentiments towards him personally have found their way to him in the most conciliating form. This being the state of things between you, it deserves to be considered whether the idea of bettering it is not outweighed by the possibility of changing it for the worse. 2. There is perhaps a general air on the letter which betrays the difficulty of your situation in writing it, and it is uncertain what the impression might be resulting from this appearance. 3. It is certain that Mr. A. is fully apprized of the trick aimed at by his Pseudo friends of N. Y. and there may be danger of his suspecting in mementos on that subject, a wish to make his resentment an instrument for revenging that [of] others. A hint of this kind was some time ago dropped by a judicious & sound man who lives under the same roof, with a wish that even the Newspapers might be silent on that point. 4. May not what is said, of “the sublime delights of riding in the storm, &c.” be misconstrued into a reflection on those who have no distaste to the helm at the present crisis? You know the temper of Mr. A. better than I do: but I have always conceived it to be rather a ticklish one. 5. The tenderness due to the zealous & active promoters of your election, makes it doubtful whether their anxieties & exertions ought to be depreciated by anything implying the unreasonableness of them. I know that some individuals who have deeply committed themselves, & probably incurred the political enmity at least of the P. elect, are already sore on this head. 6. Considering the probability that Mr. A.’s course of administration may force an opposition to it from the Republican quarter, & the general uncertainty of the posture which our affairs may take, there may be real embarrassments from giving written possession to him, of the degree of compliment & confidence which your personal delicacy & friendship have suggested,
I have ventured to make these observations because I am sure you will equally appreciate the motive & the matter of them; and because I do not view them as inconsistent with the duty & policy of cultivating Mr. Adam’s favorable dispositions, and giving a fair start to his Executive career. As you have, no doubt retained a copy of the letter I do not send it back as you request. It occurs however that if the subject should not be changed in your view of it, by the reasons which influence mine, & the delivery of the letter be accordingly judged expedient, it may not be amiss to alter the date of it; either by writing the whole over again, or authorizing me to correct that part of it.
The special communication is still unmade. It is I am told to be extremely voluminous. I hope, under the sanction of the P.’s reply to our address, that it will be calculated rather to heal than irritate the wounded friendship of the two Countries. Yet, I cannot look around at the men who counsel him, or look back at the snares into which he has hitherto been Drawn without great apprehensions on this subject. Nothing from France subsequent to the arrival of Pinkney. The negociations for peace you will see, are suspended. The accession of Spain to the war enforces the probability that its calamities are not likely yet to be terminated. The late News from the Rhine & from Italy are on the whole favorable to the French. The last battle was on the 27th Ocr in the Hunspruck, and ended in a victory on their side. The House of Reps. are on direct taxes, which seem to be so much nauseated & feared by those who have created both the necessity & odium of them, that the project will miscarry. Hamilton, you will recollect assured the farmers that all the purposes of the Govt could be answered without resorting to lands Houses or stock on farms. This deceptive statement with other devices of his administration, is rising up in judgment agst. him, and will very probably soon blast the prospects which his ambition & intrigues have contemplated. It is certain that he has lost ground in N. Y. of late; & his treachery to Adams, will open the eyes of N. England.
TO JAMES MADISON.mad. mss.
Philada Jany 15, 97.
The last post brought me your favor of Jany. 2d. It will be well for you to send on your list of articles wanted as soon as possible. I hope Kyser will not disappoint us in the Clover Seed: and that other chances at Fredg & elsewhere will be watched. As I shall get some at all events even here, I wish a Box to be made as soon as can be done. It will be the more necessary the more scanty the supply. I am astonished at the price given to Js Coleman for his fellow James. I am sure the profits I make will not justify any thing like that. His other fellow is slow, & infirm tho of good dispositions; and on the latter consideration & my desire to open land, I am willing to keep him as heretofore. If J. C. can get a better bargain I do not expect or wish him to make any sacrifice in my favor. I really do not see in the general prospect of things, or in my particular case, any reason for my enlarging the price.
I promised Docr Priestly at his request last year, a sample of our red earth, which I forgot to bring with me. He lately reminded me of it, and I am anxious now to repair the omission. For this purpose I must beg you have a few pounds taken from the ridge back of the Garden, put into a box & sent immediately to Mr Blair to come around by the first vessel. As I am particularly anxious on this point I hope it will not escape your attention.
Saml French’s claim is refused on the ground of his not having served to the end of the war, in the army of the U. S. without which the law does not give him a title to land. We are all as usual & offer our affections. Fanny writes as you will see by the inclosed.
Yr affe son
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.mad. mss.
Philada, Jany 29, 1797.
Yours convering an unsealed letter to Mr. Tazewell came duly to hand, and will be turned to the use you wish. As you take the Philada Gazette in which the Belligerent answer to Adêt’s note has been printed in toto, I refer to that for the posture & prospect of things with France. The British party since this overt patronage of their cause, no longer wear the mask. A war with France & an alliance with G. B., enter both into print and conversation; and no doubt can be entertained that a push will be made to screw up the P. to that point before he quits the office. The strides latterly made with so much inconsistency as well as weakness in that direction, prepare us for receiving every further step without surprise. No further discovery has been made of the mind of the P. elect. I cannot prevail on myself to augur much that is consoling from him. Nothing from abroad; nor more at home than you will gather from the Newspapers.
TO JAMES MADISON.mad. mss.
Philada March 12, 1797.
I wrote you by the last mail, and add this by Mr Jefferson. Lest my last letter should by any possibility have miscarried, I repeat my request that my name may not be suffered to get on the Pole for the County election. If Mr Jefferson should call & say anything to counteract my determination I hope it will be regarded as merely expressive of his own wishes on the subject, & that it will not be allowed to have the least effect. In declining to go into the Assembly should there really be a disposition to send me there I am sincere & inflexible. I hope I shall hear from you by the next mail, on the subject of Mordecai & the horses; being extremely anxious now to be on the journey, especially as we are to make visits to Berkeley & Fred’k on the way home. At present the roads are made bad by a snow succeeded by rain which has nearly carried it off; but the winds of March will soon put them in order. If the same weather should have happened with you it will have been a fine opportunity for sowing the Clover seed I sent, & which I hope got to hand in time for the purpose. The greater part of what I sent was purchased for a vessel intended to sail last fall, & cost 15 dollrs which with freight &c will exceed the Richmond price. I really think it was an error to be deterred by that price, considering the immense importance of the article, especially in laying a foundation for a meliorating plan of husbandry. The proper remedy for such a disappointment, I am told by a very experienced & intelligent farmer of this neighbourhood, is to sow in the fall on the stubble of the wheat or rye. He says this is his practice whenever he can not get seed for Spring sowing the fields or when the seed does not take effect, & that the protection & putrefaction of the stuble ensures a full crop the following year, so that there is no other loss than the first fall pasture. I consider this as a valuable hint, to beginners as it doubles the chance of getting Clover into a rotation.
You will see by the inclosed paper that the last accts from Paris respecting negotiations for peace & the temper of France towards this Country, are not favorable. This resentment is the fruit of the British Treaty, which many of its zealous advocates begin now to acknowledge was an unwise & unfortunate measure. The accounts are not authentic, & probably not accurate, but coming through so many different channels they are thought to be true in substance.
We continue well & unite in our usual offerings. Flour at 9½ dollars.
Your affecte Son