James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Noah Webster, 9 April 1802

From Noah Webster

New Haven April 9th. 1802


I have directed a Copy of a work I have just published on Miscellaneous subjects,1 to be sent from New York to your Care, to be deposited in the Office of State, in pursuance of the Act for securing to authors the right to their productions;2 and I shall be much obliged to you for a certificate of the deposit.

You will see by that work how much I differ in opinion, from the leading men of the two parties. I wish for more harmony of Councils; but I have little hope of seeing that event.

I was an advocate for the British Treaty; but I am not satisfied with some of the provisions of it, & the more I consider the subject, the more I am convinced that some articles of it have laid the foundation for much future trouble. I refer to the subjects discussed in the work just mentioned. I have a great desire to know the Contents of a little [sic] written by the Secretaries of State & Treasury to Genl Washington, at Mount Vernon, just before he gave his assent to the treaty—a letter written in consequence of an urgent application of the British minister for a decision on the ratification of the Treaty.3 I presume it must be in your office—at the same time I have no right to ask even for a sight of the contents. But I never reflect on the fact without a degree of regret, that any extraneous influence should have been exerted in such an important national question. But it is idle to indulge regret, or anticipate evil. A more temperate policy on the part of the present administration would have reconciled all sober, impartial federalists to the change, & this without any considerable sacrifice of principles on the part of the present ruling men. Accept my respects, with my best wishes for your personal welfare, & believe me Your Obedt Servt

N Webster Jun.

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