Writings of James Madison, Volume 2

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Author: James Madison

To James Monroe.

WASHINGTON, April 20, 1803.

DEAR SIR,—You will receive with this all the communications claimed by the actual and eventual posture of our affairs in the hands of yourself and Mr. Livingston. You will find, also, that the Spanish Government has pretty promptly corrected the wrong done by its officer at New Orleans. This event will be a heavy blow to the clamorous for war, and will be very soothing to those immediately interested in the trade of the Mississippi. The temper manifested by our Western Citizens has been throughout the best that can be conceived. The real injury from the suspension of the deposit was, however, much lessened by the previous destruction of the entire crop of wheat in Kentucky, by the number of sea vessels built on the Ohio, and by throngs of vessels from Atlantic ports to the Mississippi, some of which ascended to the Natchez. The permission, also, to supply the market at New Orleans, and to ship the surplus as Spanish property to Spanish ports, was turned to good account. The trial, therefore, has been much alleviated. Certain it is that the hearts and hopes of the Western people are strongly fixed on the Mississippi for the future boundary. Should no improvement of existing rights be gained, the disappointment will be great. Still, respect for principle and character, aversion to poor rates and taxes, the hope of a speedy conjuncture more favorable, and attachment to the present order of things, will be persuasive exhortations to patience. It is even a doubt with some of the best judges whether the deposit alone would not be waived for a while, rather than it should be the immediate ground of war and an alliance with England. This suggested a particular passage in the official letter now sent you and Mr. Livingston.

The elections in New England are running much against the administration. In Virginia, the result is but very partially known. Brent outvoted Lewis. In general, things continue well in that State.

The affair between the President and J. W. has had a happy ecclaircissement. Even this general communication is for your own bosom, as already privy to the affair.

I have received a very friendly letter from General La Fayette, which I shall answer as soon as I can get some further information. We are all much distressed by his late accident, and are anxious for every proof to be given him of the affection of this Country. Congress found an occasion of voting about 11 or 12,000 acres of land Northwest of the Ohio, with liberty to locate it any where. This may be made worth now, probably, about 20,000 dollars. In a little time the value must greatly increase. Whether any thing else can or will be done, you can judge as well as myself. Assure him of my undiminished friendship for him, which he knows to have been perfectly sincere and ardent.

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Chicago: James Madison Jr., "To James Monroe.," Writings of James Madison, Volume 2 in James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, 4 Vols. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.), Pp.180-181 Original Sources, accessed August 12, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4ZZVXTX8I5MPHEM.

MLA: Madison, James, Jr. "To James Monroe." Writings of James Madison, Volume 2, in James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, 4 Vols. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.), Pp.180-181, Original Sources. 12 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4ZZVXTX8I5MPHEM.

Harvard: Madison, J, 'To James Monroe.' 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.), Pp.180-181. Original Sources, retrieved 12 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4ZZVXTX8I5MPHEM.