James Madison Papers

Peter Stuart Ney to James Madison, 1 October 1831

1 Oct. 1831.

Respected Sir,

The honour of an introduction to the revered Mr. Madison has not been my happy lot. The subject of this intrusion shall be briefly expressed. ’Le Sage entend à demi mot.’ And it shall be "à demi mot. You, respected Sir, already Stand at the head, the very head of American Patriots. You have it in your power to transcend them all! The step is a bold One—but it requires only one hour of your prolific pen to accomplish your elevation. Neither Tariff, nor Nullification, nor State, nor Federal sovereignity is the object of this ’demi Mot,’ but what is infinitely more important than either, to the permanent happiness of this Union and the subjects thereof. In a word, it is the future security of the Whites! Your powerful mind can at once grasp the whole subject. Your wisdom and sage habit of thought can readily devise the means, and point out to the States and General Government acting in concert & mutual compromise for their Common welfare, the mode of dislodging the tremendous incubus, which now sits on their bosom. I mean Negro Slavery! Recent events confirm the long established axiom, "That Men submit no longer to slavery & degredation than circumstances compel them—" & that hope and desperation will prompt to the most sanguinary and woeful attempts at revenge or vindication enough.

What I propose for your consideration is this. Let the U. S. territory West of the Rocky Mountains be appropriated by Mutual Consent of teh States for the colonization of the Sable population of U.S. Let the period for the commencement of gradual emancipation & its equitable details, be fixed by the States and Congress & c. at 1832-33,-34, or such time as their collective wisdom may deem meet. Let the child Unborn be the subject of emancipation and emigration, after a proper servitude to redeem its raising &c. in such proportions as may be agreed on by the proper authorities. Say every 3d. or 5th. Slave &c per annum.

The African Colonization Society, may, in the mean time, pursue their noble object in view. This drain over the Rocky Mountains will be tenfold, and efficient to keep down the procreation in the States, and its inevitable consequence, if such a plan be not adopted. Enough for you My dear & revered Sir. I have gone over un demi Mot. Permit me merely to suggest one idea more. You I fear will call it selfish—But what are we all but selfish beings! He who leads the <van> in this affair will be immortalized! Yes Sir, immortalized.

Your name is already high on the Roll of fame; but this Scheme recommended by you, in the clear and irrefutable Style of your Pen, will place your name on the Apex of that Pyramid of American glory & humanity produced to last forever.

God grant & that you may comprehend my ’demi mot,’ & that your health & inclination may prompt you to fill one sheet for the consideration of those whom it so deeply concerns.

P. S. Ney.


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