James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Edward Livingston, 19 May 1822

From Edward Livingston

New Orleans 19th May 1822.


The Pamphlet which I have the honor to submit to your perusal1 will disirve some Interest from the subject, altho’ little from the manner I fear in which it is treated. The efforts making for the improvement of Criminal Jurisprudence, in this part of the Union cannot but gratify those, who like you Sir, know how important that branch of Government is to the Liberties, as well as the happiness of the People. I cannot hope that you will either find leisure or Inclination to favor me with any Observations on the defects of the System I have proposed. If the perusal of the pamphlet should afford you either Interest or Satisfaction, the Object which induced me to take the Liberty of writing this Letter, will be attained. I have the honor to be with great Respect Your mo obt. Servt.

Edw. Livingston2

RC (DLC); draft (NjP: Edward Livingston Papers). RC in a clerk’s hand signed by Livingston; docketed by JM. Minor differences between the copies have not been noted.

1Edward Livingston, Report Made to the General Assembly of the State of Louisiana, on the Plan of a Penal Code for the Said State (New Orleans, 1822; Shoemaker 9283).

2Edward Livingston (1764–1836), the younger brother of Robert R. Livingston, was graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1781, and admitted to the bar in New York in 1786. A fervent Republican, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1795–1801, where he opposed the Jay Treaty and the Alien and Sedition Acts. He was appointed U.S. attorney for the New York district by Thomas Jefferson, but when in 1803 a large shortfall was found in federal money entrusted to his care, Livingston was forced to resign. He left New York for New Orleans, where he found success as a lawyer, speculator, and politician. He was again elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, 1822–28, then moved to the Senate, 1829–31. He served as secretary of state, 1831–33, and as U.S. minister to France, 1833–35 (Harrison, Princetonians, 1776–1783, 331–41).

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