James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert Smith, [29 October] 1809

From Robert Smith

Sunday Morning [29 October 1809]


I have not yet sufficiently regained my health to give the necessary attention to Mr Jackson’s last letter.1 But it appears to me that we can’t consider it a satisfactory explanation, especially after having so solemnly declared that to be satisfactory it must shew not merely a violation of instructions but must moreover shew reasons strong & solid. What then are the reasons which we can admit or can consider strong & solid? We cannot accept this without in my Opinion abandoning the ground taken in the preceding notes. I am disposed, at present, to think it best to discontinue the correspondence with Jackson as unworthy of the attention of the govt. and to say to Pinkney whatever we wish to be laid before Congress. I will be fully able to attend at any hour tomorrow a consultation upon the question whether Mr Jackson ought to be answered or upon any other subject. With great Regard &c &c &c

R Smith

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers). Undated. Date here assigned on the basis of internal evidence and circumstances described in n. 1.

1On 1 Nov. Smith wrote to Francis James Jackson, mentioning an illness that “for several days” rendered him “utterly unfit for business.” Smith evidently had before him Jackson’s letter of 23 Oct., which, in turn, was Jackson’s response to Smith’s letter of 19 Oct. where the secretary of state had stipulated that the British minister should show “strong and solid reasons” to explain the disavowal of the agreement Erskine had made with the U.S. (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States ... (38 vols.; Washington, 1832-61). description ends , Foreign Relations, 3:311–14, 317).

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