Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JAMES MADISON MAD. MSS. - The Works, vol. 8 (Correspondence 1793-1798)
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TO JAMES MADISON MAD. MSS. - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 8 (Correspondence 1793-1798) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 8
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TO JAMES MADISONMAD. MSS.
Philadelphia, May 31, 98.
I wrote to you last on the 24th, since which yours of the 20th is received. I must begin by correcting two errors in my last. It was false arithmetic to say, that two measures therein mentioned to be carried by majorities of 11., would have failed if the 14. absentees (wherein a majority of 6 was ours) had been present. Six coming over from the other side would have turned the scale, and this was the idea floating in my mind, which produced the mistake. The 2d error was in the version of mr. A’s expression, which I stated to you. His real expression was “that he would not unbrace a single nerve for any treaty France could offer; such was their entire want of faith, morality,” &c.
The bill from the Senate for capturing French armed vessels found hovering on our coast was passed in two days by the lower house, without a single alteration; and the Ganges, a 20-gun sloop, fell down the river instantly to go on a cruise. She has since been ordered to New York, to convoy a vessel from that to this port. The Alien bill will be ready to day, probably, for it’s 3d reading in the Senate. It has been considerably mollified, particularly by a proviso saving the rights of treaties. Still, it is a most detestable thing. I was glad, in yesterday’s discussion, to hear it admitted on all hands, that laws of the U S, subsequent to a treaty, controul it’s operation, and that the legislature is the only power which can controul a treaty. Both points are sound beyond doubt. This bill will unquestionably pass the He of R, the majority there being decisive, consolidated, and bold enough to do anything. I have no doubt from the hints dropped, they will pass a bill to declare the French treaty void. I question if they will think a declaration of war prudent, as it might alarm, and all it’s effects are answered by the act authorizing captures. A bill is brought in for suspending all communication with the dominions of France, which will no doubt pass. It is suspected they mean to borrow money of individuals in London, on the credit of our land tax, & perhaps the guarantee of Gt Britain. The land tax was yesterday debated, and a majority of 6. struck out the 13th. section of the classification of houses, and taxing them by a different scale from the lands. Instead of this, is to be proposed a valuation of the houses & lands together. Macon yesterday laid a motion on the table for adjourning on the 14th. Some think they do not mean to adjourn; others, that they wait first the return of the envoys, for whom it is now avowed the brig Sophia was sent. It is expected she would bring them off about the middle of this month. They may, therefore, be expected here about the 2d week of July. Whatever be their decision as to adjournment, I think it probable my next letter will convey orders for my horses, and that I shall leave this place from the 20th to the 25th of June; for I have no expectation they will actually adjourn sooner. Volney & a ship-load of others sail on Sunday next. Another ship-load will go off in about 3 weeks. It is natural to expect they go under irritations calculated to fan the flame. Not so Volney. He is most thoroughly impressed with the importance of preventing war, whether considered with reference to the interests of the two countries, of the cause of republicanism, or of man on the broad scale. But an eagerness to render this prevention impossible, leaves me without any hope. Some of those who have insisted that it was long since war on the part of France, are candid enough to admit that it is now begun on our part also. I enclose for your perusal a poem on the alien bill, written by mr. Marshall. I do this, as well for your amusement, as to get you to take care of this copy for me till I return; for it will be lost by lending, if I retain it here, as the publication was suppressed after the sale of a few copies, of which I was fortunate enough to get one. Your locks, hinges, &c., shall be immediately attended to.
My respectful salutations & friendship to mrs. Madison, to the family, & to yourself. Adieu.
P. S. The President, it is said, has refused an Exequatur to the Consul General of France, Dupont.
P. P. S. This fact is true. I have it this moment from Dupont, and he goes off with Volney to France in two or three days.