Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 13 December 1795

From James Madison

Philada. Decr. 13. 1795

Dear Sir

I received yesterday your favor covering a letter to Monsr. Liancourt which I have put into the hands of Noailles who will attend to the delivery of it. I inclose a copy of the P’s speech. The Senate have answered it, as was to be expected. You will see the first fruits of their open doors in the debates it produced. The answer of the House of Reps. will be reported tomorrow. It has been delayed by a disagreement of ideas in the Committee, which consisted of Sedgwick, Sitgreaves and myself. The two former are strongly for the Treaty, and wish to favor it, at the same time that they are afraid to hazard direct expressions to that effect. The policy of that party is to obtain it a quiet passage thro’ the present Session, pretending that it is too soon now to meddle with it, as they will hereafter pretend that it is then too late. The means employed are to blazon the public prosperity, to confound the Treaty with the President, and to mouth over the stale topics of war and confusion. The answer as it stands to be reported contains a clause which will put the House of Reps. in a dilemma similar to that forced on the House of Delegates, and I believe will never be swallowed because it is in part notoriously untrue. It affirms the confidence of his fellow Citizens to be undiminished, which will be denied by many who sincerely wish it to be the case. It cannot yet be determined what course the business will take. It seems most probable at present that the answer will be neutralized; and the subject immediately after taken up in a Come. of the whole on the State of the Union; which will have the advantage of disentangleing it from the P. and of accomodating the wishes of some individuals who will be much influenced by the mode. There is pretty certainly a great majority against the Treaty on its merits; but besides the ordinary difficulty of preventing scisms, there is a real obscurity in the constitutional part of the question, and a diversity of sincere opinions about it, which the other side will make the most of. Nothing very late from abroad. The provision order has been repealed, but the spoliations go on. The publication of E.R. is not yet out. It is said it will appear the latter end of the present week. Adieu. Yrs. affy.

Js M Jr.

Flour 14 dollrs. and tis thought will rise to 16. The purchases of British agents for the W. India armaments are no doubt one of the causes of this extraordinary rise.

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 25 Dec. 1795 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found, but see note below.

Your favor: TJ to Madison, 3 Dec. 1795. The enclosed copy of the P’s speech was probably that printed in the Philadelphia Aurora, 9 Dec. 1795; the debates in the Senate on 11 Dec. were printed in same, 12 Dec. 1795. The answer of the House of Representatives drafted by Madison as chairman of the Federalist-dominated committee assigned to prepare the reply ignored the issue of the Jay Treaty (Madison, Papers, description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 24 vols. description ends xvi, 164–6). For the answer as it stands to be reported by the committee with the clause Madison opposed, see William Branch Giles to TJ, 15 Dec. 1795, and note. The reply as it was approved with an additional amendment by the House on 16 Dec. 1795 merely made a passing reference to the treaty (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1826, 9 vols. description ends , ii, 379–80). Provision order: see note to James Monroe to TJ, 27 June 1795.

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