Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JAMES MADISON. mad. mss. - The Writings, vol. 6 (1790-1802)
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TO JAMES MADISON. 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 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
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.mad. mss.
Since my last I have recd yours of Feby 8, with a continuation of the Gazettes down to that date, with the exception only mentioned already of the Gazette of Jany 23. I am glad to find the public opinion to be taking the turn you describe on the subject of arming. For the public opinion alone can now save us from the rash measures of our hot-headed Executive: it being evident from some late votes of the House of Reps, particularly in the choice of Managers for the Impeachment, that a majority there as well as in the Senate are ready to go as far as the controul of their constituents will permit. There never was perhaps a greater contrast between two characters than between those of the present President & his predecessor, altho’ it is the boast & prop of the present that he treads in the steps of his predecessor. The one cool considerate & cautious, the other headlong & kindled into flame by every spark that lights on his passions: the one ever scrutinizing into the public opinion, and ready to follow where he could not lead it; the other insulting it by the most adverse sentiments & pursuits. W. a hero in the field, yet overweighing every danger in the Cabinet—A. without a single pretension to the character of a soldier, a perfect Quixotte as a statesman: the former chief magistrate pursuing peace every where with sincerity, tho’ mistaking the means; the latter taking as much pains to get into war, as the former took to keep out of it. The contrast might be pursued into a variety of other particulars—the policy of the one in shunning connections with the arrangements of Europe, of the other in holding out the U. S. as a makeweight in the Balances of power; the avowed exultation of W. in the progress of liberty every where, & his eulogy on the Revolution & people of France posterior even to the bloody reign & fate of Robespierre—the open denunciations by Adams of the smallest disturbance of the ancient discipline order & tranquillity of despotism, &c &c &c. The affair of Lyon & Griswold1 is bad eno’ every way, but worst of all in becoming a topic of tedious & disgraceful debates in Congress. There certainly could be no necessity for removing it from the decision of the parties themselves before that tribunal, & its removal was evidently a sacrifice of the dignity of the latter to the party manœuvre of ruining a man whose popularity & activity were feared. If the state of the House suspended its rules in general, it was under no obligation to see any irregularity which did not force itself into public notice; and if Griswold be a man of the sword, he shd not have permitted the step to be taken, if not, he does not deserve to be avenged by the House. No man ought to reproach another with cowardice, who is not ready to give proof of his own courage. I have taken some pains but in vain to find out a person who will engage to carry the Mail from Fredg. to Charlottesville. When I was in the neighbourhood of the latter I suggested the propriety of an effort there for the purpose, but do not know that it will be more successful. Our winter has continued without snow & rather dry, and our Wheat fields wear the most discouraging aspect.
[1 ]Griswold called Lyon (not in debate) a coward, whereupon Lyon spat in Griswold’s face and the two engaged in fisticuffs on the floor of the House.