James Madison Papers

William C. Rives to James Madison, 28 July 1833

Castle-Hill July 28th ’33.

My dear sir,

I found it a matter of more difficulty than I anticipated to procure a pamphlet copy of Mr. Tyler’s Speech, which I have now the pleasure to send you. After repeated ineffectual searches for it among my own collections of the last winter, & the failure of other efforts to obtain a copy, I, at length, wrote to a friend in Washington, who with difficulty procured that, which I am much gratified in being enabled now to offer you.

You will find what Mr. Tyler says of the several parties in the convention, & of the views which you exposed & maintained, on pages 4. & 5. of the pamphlet. In this prepared version of his speech, he seems to me to point against you, much more unequivocally than he did in his oral remarks on the floor of the Senate, the charge of having advocated a plan of government, "the design of which was to render the States nothing more than the provinces of a great government, & to rear upon the ruins of the old confederacy a consolidated government, one & indivisible." There can be no doubt that a systematic attempt is now making by all the disciples of the South Carolina school to destroy, if they can, the high authority of your opinions with the republicans of your own State by representing you to have been the advocate, <at> the Convention, of a high-toned central authority, which would have left nothing of influence, of power, or of importance to the States. For this purpose, they have laid hold, particularly, of certain passages in Yates’ Debates, which you will see cited in a late essay in the Richmond Enquirer herewith enclosed; which is but <a> repetition of what has been more insidiously said in higher places & by more important personages. If you should deem it worth while to furnish to your friends the aid of your own enlightening remarks & explanations to correct these misrepresentations, I will only say that there is no office I should be so proud to perform as to be instrumental, to the extent of my opportunities & abilities in rescuing from prejudice & perversion an authority which is our great, if not only reliance, for preserving Virginia from the demoralising & disorganising doctrines of her unquiet neighbour.

I enclose a letter from Mr. Serrurier, from which Mrs. Madison will perceive that the cause which has prevented Mrs. Rives from having the pleasure of visiting her, in company with their interesting friend Madame Serrurier, has been a distressing affliction of the latter, which has compelled her to go to Philadelphia for surgical relief. Desiring to offer our best salutations to her & to yourself, I remain, my dear sir, with sentiments of affectionate & respectful attachment your’s

W. C. Rives


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