James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Pleasants Jr., 25 March 1820

From James Pleasants Jr.

Washington 25th March 1820

Dear Sir

The enclosed letters & documents1 have been put into my hands through the agency of Robert S. Rose,2 at this time a member of the N. York legislature. A perusal of them will give you at once a view of the object they have in view. Your answer is solicited at as early a moment as your leisure will admit, as their election takes place early in April. Be pleased to direct yr. answer to Smith Thompson3 esqr. Secty. of the navy at this place, who will forward it immediately. Your goodness will excuse the liberty I take in troubling you on this not very pleasant subject to one in your situation. I am with the greatest respe[c]t yr obt. &ca.

James Pleasants Jr.


1The enclosures were probably Martin Van Buren’s two letters to JM of 15 Mar. 1820, covering a correspondence between JM and Daniel D. Tompkins, at this time vice president of the United States and a candidate for the governorship of New York in the April 1820 elections.

2Robert Selden Rose (1774–1835) was born in Amherst County, Virginia, but moved to New York state in 1803. He was a member of the state legislature, 1811, 1820, and 1821, and served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1823–27, and 1829–31.

3Smith Thompson (1768–1843) was a New Yorker and a graduate of the College of New Jersey, who served as secretary of the U.S. Navy, 1819–23. He resigned that position to become associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, a position he held until his death (Paolo E. Coletta, ed., American Secretaries of the Navy [2 vols.; Annapolis, Md., 1980], 1:123, 127).

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