Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1800: TO THOMAS JEFFERSON. mad. mss. - The Writings, vol. 6 (1790-1802)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
1800: 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.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.mad. mss.
March 15, 1800.
Since my last I have been favored with the following inclosures.—The Bill relating to Electors1 Ramsay’s oration, the Report on ways & means, a motion by Bingham, and the resolution for excluding the Judges from other offices.
It is not to be denied that the Constn. might have been properly more full in prescribing the election of P. & V. P. but the remedy is an amendment to the Constn., and not a legislative interference. It is evident that this interference ought to be and was meant to be as little permitted as possible; it being a principle of the Constn. that the two departments should be independent of each other, and dependent on their Constituents only. Should the spirit of the Bill be followed up, it is impossible to say, how far the choice of the Ex. may be drawn out of the Constitutional hands, and subjected to the management of the Legislature. The danger is the greater, as the Chief Magistrate, for the time being may be bribed into the usurpations by so shaping them as to favor his re-election. If this licentiousness in constructive perversions of the Constitution, continue to increase, we shall soon have to look into our code of laws, and not the Charter of the people, for the form as well as the powers of our Government. Indeed such an unbridled spirit of construction as has gone forth in sundry instances, would bid defiance to any possible parchment securities against usurpation.
I understand that the general ticket law is represented at Phila as generally unpopular. I have no reason to believe this to be the fact. On the Contrary, I learn that the information collected at Richmond on this subject is satisfactory to the friends of the law.
The ground has been covered for six weeks with snow; and there is still a remnant of it. It has given a very unusual backwardness to all the preparations for the ensuing crops, but we hope for some amends from its influence on the winter grain.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.mad. mss.
April 4, 1800.
Your favor by Mr Trist was duly handed to me, since which I have recd the Report on imports under your cover, & yesterday your favor of the 25ult.: accompanied with the Pamphlet & Mr. Nicholas’s motion on the Electoral Bill, which appears to be so fair & pertinent, that a rejection of it in favor of any other modification proposed, must fix a new brand on the Authors. The spirit manifested in the Senate steadily, & in the other House occasionally, however mischievous in its immediate effects, cannot fail I think to aid the progress of reflection & change among the people. In this view our public malady may work its own cure, and ultimately rescue the republical principal from the imputation brought on it by the degeneracy of the public Councils. Such a demonstration of the rectitude & efficacy of popular sentiment, will be the more precious, as the late defection of France has left America the only Theatre on which true liberty can have a fair trial. We are all extremely anxious to learn the event of the Election in N. Y. on which so much depends. I have nothing to add to what I have already said on the prospect with us. I have no reason whatever to doubt all the success that was expected. If it should fall in your way, you will oblige me by inquiring whether there be known in Philada any composition for encrusting Brick that will effectually stand the weather: and particularly what is thought of common plaister thickly painted with white lead overspread with sand. I wish to give some such dressing to the columns of my Portico, & to lessen as much as possible the risk of the experiment.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.mad. mss.
Oct 21 1800.
This will be handed you by Mr. Altson of S. Carolina,1 who proposes to call at Montecello on his return from a Northern tour. He will probably be well known to you by other introductions; but those which he has brought to me, as well as a short acquaintance with him make me feel an obligation to add mine. He appears to be intelligent, sound in his principles, and polished in his manners. Coming fresh from N. Y. through Pena. & Maryld he will be able to furnish many details on late occurrences. The fact of most importance mentioned by him & which is confirmed by letters I have from Burr & Gilston, is that the vote of Rho: Island will be assured on the right side. The latter gentleman expresses much anxiety & betrays some jealousy with respect to the integrity of the Southern States in keeping the former one in view for the secondary station. I hope the event will skreen all the parties, particularly Virginia from any imputation on this subject: tho’ I am not without fears, that the requisite concert may not sufficiently pervade the several States. You have no doubt seen the late Paris Statement, as well as the comment on it by observator who is manifestly Hamilton. The two papers throw a blaze of light on the proceedings of our administration & must I think, co-operate with other causes, in opening thoroughly the eyes of the people.
[1 ]The bill “Prescribing the mode of deciding disputed elections of President and Vice President of the United States” originated in the Senate. It provided that the Senate and House should “on the — next following the day when a President and Vice President shall have been voted for” each choose four members to form a joint committee with power to examine into all disputes relative to the election of President and Vice President, except such as might relate to the number of votes by which the electors had been chosen. If the two houses on report of the joint committee should concur in rejecting any votes cast for President and Vice President they should not be counted. The bill was amended in the House, passed May 2, again amended by the Senate and finally rejected because of the Senate amendments May 10. Annals of Cong., 6th Cong., 1779-1801, 694, 695, 697, 713.
[1 ]Joseph Allston who married Theodosia, daughter of Aaron Burr.