James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Dawson, 29 January 1801

From John Dawson

City of Washington. January. 29th. 1801.

Dear Sir,

I thank you for your favour of the 3d: Int. and wish you had continu’d your communications on the subjects therein treated on—I cannot say with certainty what will be the result on the 11th. of the next month, however I think nine states will be found decided for Mr. J. and that the others will give way—you shall be informd at the earliest moment, and I wish you to collect as many gentlemen as you can, at your Court house on the first post day after the 11th.

It was understood that the Senate had rejected the treaty with the French republic—it is now said that they will reconsider—they have rejected the Mausoleum bill1—by the vote of the Speaker leave has been given to bring on a bill to continue the Sedition law—we shall reject it. The president pro tem: has nominated Roger Griswold as Secy at War—the beaking2 of M. Lyon is I presume his recommendation.3 With much esteem

J Dawson.


1On 1 Jan. 1801, with Dawson voting in the minority, the House of Representatives passed a bill authorizing construction of a tomb for George Washington. The Senate on 3 Mar. voted by a narrow margin to postpone the bill until December (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 6th Cong., 2d sess., 758, 875).

2Beaking: striking someone with a pointed weapon (OED description begins Oxford English Dictionary. description ends ).

3Upon Oliver Wolcott’s resignation as secretary of the treasury on 1 Jan. 1801, Adams appointed Samuel Dexter to the office. Dexter’s position as secretary of war was offered to Roger Griswold, who despite Senate confirmation on 3 Feb. 1801 declined to serve (Oliver Wolcott to Elizabeth S. Wolcott, 12 Nov. 1800, Gibbs, Memoirs of the Administrations of Washington and Adams, 2:462, 463, 479; Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 1:375).

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