James Madison Papers

Joseph C. Cabell to James Madison, 27 March 1833

Charlottesville. Mar. 27, 1833.

My dear Sir, 

In my late note from Warminster, covering the James River pamphlets, I indicated my intention to write you again very shortly. I attended Nelson Court on Monday, & came down in yesterday’s stage to this place. Having passed to-day at the University, I was preparing to take Montpellier in on way to Fredericksburg & Corrottoman & thence to Wms.burg. But hearing this evening that the Steam Boat descends the Rappahannock to-day, & will not go down again till this day week, & being unable to wait so long, as I shall be compelled shortly to return to the election, I have decided to take the morning’s stage to Richmond, and proceed directly to Wms.burg. I now enclose you agreeably to your request, your two favours of 27 & 28 Dec, together with Col: John Taylor’s argument on the carriage tax. I regret to part with the two former, & do so only in obedience to your request. Altho’ I did not respond at the time, as you had a right to expect, the subject commanded my profound attention & that of friends whom I consulted on the occasion. After the first stage of the debate on federal relations, no invidious allusions in reference to yourself were made, and the debate took an unexpected direction towards secession, instead of federal umpirage, which greatly diminished the motives for the introduction of the letter from your self to Judge Roane. On the other hand, it appeared to me that to reopen an old source of prejudice might injuriously affect the judgement of the House on the new & exciting subject of secession. Moreover upon re-perusing your letters to Mr. Everett & Mr. Ingersoll, in addition to your letters on the Tariff, it seemed to me that they contained such unanswerable internal evidence of the absurdity of the charges to which I had alluded, that it would be undignified in your personal friends to seem to notice or to answer them. Mr. Johnson & other friends, upon consultation approved of my final determination to withhold the letter. This determination is sanctioned by my subsequent reflections, and I hope it will meet with your own approbation. It is proper to state, however, that altho’ I did not think it expedient, on that occasion, to make use of your letter to Judge Roane, I could wish that it could be given to the public. Among others I shewed it to Judge Scott, and he expressed a great wish that it should be published. I beg leave to communicate to you in confidence a letter lately received from him in reference to this subject as regards another discussion which laterly occurred in the S. of the U. States. I have not read the speeches to which Mr. Scott alludes, but presume you have done so. I can give no opinion as to the course recommended, and it would be unnecessary for me to do so, as yourself & the Judge are infinitely more competent to decide. It is proper to state that I had not an opportunity to shew him the whole correspondence between yourself & Judge Roane. Upon conference with some confidential friends, I am inclined to think that it would be extremely useful to the public at this time to have your letters to Mr. Everett & Mr. Ingersoll, & the one to Judge Roane alluded to above, if not your letters on the Tariff republished, in pamphlet form, and circulated over the State. My idea is that the letter to Judge Roane might be included in such a pamphlet without any reasons being [ ] for its insertion, leaving it to be inferred that the object was to enlighten the public mind as to your views of particular constitutional questions. It would be agreeable to me to know whether you would be disposed to yield to the wish expressed in Judge Scott’s letter, or whether you would approve such a course of publication as I have suggested, or whether you would think it better to await some occasion which may occur in the course of the next winter. In the event of the second suggestion meeting your approbation, I would also be pleased to know whether you would desire to add other documents to the publication. Be pleased to return me Judge Scott’s letter, under cover to Wm.burg. where I shall be for 2 or 3 weeks to come. I regret exceedingly that the nature of my engagements prevents me from calling on you so as to communicate with you personally. With best respects to Mrs. Madison, I remain dear Sir, most respectfully & truly yours

Jos C: Cabell


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