James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Francis Bailey, 6 November 1811

From Francis Bailey

Philada. 6 Novemr. 1811.


Your Message arrived here within less than ten hours from Washington.

I cannot forbear communicating to you, the raptures it has almost universally diffused through this city. Even many of the Feds acknowledge it is high time that decisive and energetic measures should mark our future conduct to the Belligerents. Paine said “The time had found us out.”1 Sooner or later, than the present, might have been perhaps an improper time, to assume the tone and attitude recommended in your Message, of tuesday last.

May kind Heaven bless you, and long preserve your usefulness to our beloved Country! With the highest esteem I am your Excellency’s very huml. Sert.

Francis Bailey.2


1In the discussion in Common Sense in 1776 of whether the American colonies would sooner or later separate from Great Britain, Thomas Paine wrote, “the inquiry ceases at once, for the time bath found us” (Moncure Daniel Conway, ed., The Writings of Thomas Paine [1894–96; 4 vols.; New York, 1967 reprint], 1:101).

2Francis Bailey (1744–1817) had long been known to JM as printer to the Continental Congress and editor of the Philadelphia Freeman’s Journal, 1781–92 (PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77, vols. 11–17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977–91). description ends , 12:469–70 and n. 1, 15:368 n. 1).

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