Writings of James Madison, Volume 3

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Author: James Madison

To John Finch.

MONTPELLIER, May 13, 1828.

DEAR SIR,—I have received your letter of the 1st instant, and with it a copy of your "Essay on the effect of the Physical Geography of the World on the boundaries of Empires."

The views taken of the subject are interesting, and some of them with the additional merit of originality, and I thank you, sir, for the communication of them.

On turning from the past to the future, speculation may be invited to the influence of those boundaries that may result from new modifications of Governments and the operations of art on the Geographical features of nature. The improvements in political science, more particularly the combination of the federal and representative principles, seem to favor a greater expansion of Government in a free form than has been maintainable under the most despotic; whilst so many of the physical obstacles hitherto determining the boundaries of States are yielding to the means which now render mountains, rivers, lakes, and seas, artificially passable with a facility and a celerity which brings distant regions within the compass required for useful intercommunication. Nor should the telegraph, with its probable improvements, be overlooked as an auxiliary to the convenient exercise of power over an extended space. The play which moral causes may have in deranging the influence of the physical and political on the national grouping of mankind, do not fall within the precincts of anticipation. The power of reason, and the lessons of experience, are the only safeguards against such of them as are most to be deprecated.

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Chicago: James Madison Jr., "To John Finch.," Writings of James Madison, Volume 3 in James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, 4 Vols. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.), P.633 Original Sources, accessed September 30, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L2CR2F5ZLUUC4TP.

MLA: Madison, James, Jr. "To John Finch." Writings of James Madison, Volume 3, in James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, 4 Vols. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.), P.633, Original Sources. 30 Sep. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L2CR2F5ZLUUC4TP.

Harvard: Madison, J, 'To John Finch.' in Writings of James Madison, Volume 3. cited in , James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, 4 Vols. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.), P.633. Original Sources, retrieved 30 September 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L2CR2F5ZLUUC4TP.