Writings of James Madison, Volume 2

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Author: James Madison

To the Legislature of the State of South Carolina.

December, 1813.

I have received, fellow-citizens, your communication of the 18th of December. It is in a spirit which was to be expected from a public Body whose sensibility to the rights and honor of the nation produced a unanimous approbation of a war waged in defence of both.

You do no more than justice to the love of peace, patient forbearance, and the conciliatory efforts which preceded this last appeal of injured nations against the inflexibility of their aggressors. When finally and formally assured by the British Government that its hostile measures would not be revoked, no alternative was left to the United States but irretrievable degradation, or the lesser calamity of a resort to arms.

The reluctance of this resort has been sufficiently attested by the readiness shewn, and the steps taken on the part of the United States, first to suspend its effects, and then, by liberal arrangements, to terminate its causes. Until a correspondent disposition on the part of the enemy shall give success to the pacific views on our part, the course pointed at by your honorable patriotism is that alone which becomes a free people, devoted to their Independence, and awake to their high destinies.

Amidst the painful scenes of the war, it is consoling to us all that it has been conducted, on our part, in a spirit and manner which prove that the American character is as conspicuous for humanity as for bravery; and that, if a seeming departure from the former has taken place in any instance, it has been extorted by the cruel policy of the adversary, and has for its real object a controul or correction of that policy, dictated by humanity itself.

The approbation which you have been pleased to express of my public conduct during a trying period derives a particular value from my high respect for the source from which I receive it; and I pray you, fellow-citizens, to accept, with my acknowledgments, assurances of my best wishes for your prosperity and that of a State whose example in the common cause so well merits it.

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Chicago: James Madison Jr., "To the Legislature of the State of South Carolina.," Writings of James Madison, Volume 2 in James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, 4 Vols. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.), P.579 Original Sources, accessed April 25, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CY5UN2NN1UJTDQH.

MLA: Madison, James, Jr. "To the Legislature of the State of South Carolina." Writings of James Madison, Volume 2, in James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, 4 Vols. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.), P.579, Original Sources. 25 Apr. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CY5UN2NN1UJTDQH.

Harvard: Madison, J, 'To the Legislature of the State of South Carolina.' in Writings of James Madison, Volume 2. cited in , James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, 4 Vols. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.), P.579. Original Sources, retrieved 25 April 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CY5UN2NN1UJTDQH.