James Madison Papers
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From James Madison to Henry Dearborn, 11 January 1812

To Henry Dearborn

Washington Jany. 11. 1812

Dear Sir

Congress have just passed the act adding twenty odd thousand troops to the Military establishment.1 It provides for two Major Generals & 5 brigadiers. The importance of placing this and the other forces in view, under the best commanders, speaks for itself. Our eyes could not but be turned, on such an occasion, to your qualifications & experience; and I wait for your permission only to name you to the Senate for the senior Majr. General. I hope you will so far suspend all other considerations as not to withold it, and that I shall not only be gratified with this information as quickly as possible, but with an authority to look for your arrival here, as soon as you make it practicable. You will be sensible of all the value of your cooperation on the spot in making the arrangements necessary to repair the loss of time which has taken place. All the information we receive urges a vigorous p[r]eparation for events. (With respect to the Collectorship we must do as well as we can.) Accept my best respects & most friendly wish⟨es⟩

James Madison

RC (Forbes Magazine Collection, New York, N.Y.); Tr (MeHi).

1On 10 Jan. 1812 both houses of Congress agreed to the passage of “An Act to raise an additional Military Force” and JM signed the legislation the next day (see U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 2:671–74). Instead of the ten thousand additional regular troops to be enlisted for a period of three years that had been recommended by the House select committee on foreign relations on 29 Nov. 1811, the bill provided for the recruitment of twenty-five thousand troops of various descriptions for the term of five years. The House, in a Committee of the Whole, had approved the recommendation of ten thousand troops for three years on 16 Dec. 1811, but between 17 and 20 Dec. the Senate, at the prompting of William Branch Giles of Virginia, debated and passed legislation establishing the larger force for the longer period. The House attempted to amend the Senate bill in ways that would have given the president some discretion to organize a smaller force, but the Senate insisted on its version of the bill, to which the House finally consented on 10 Jan. 1812 (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 12th Cong., 1st sess., 29, 30, 84, 85, 95, 96, 97, 545, 595–606, 608–9, 611–17, 619–35, 636–64, 665–91, 700, 701–19).

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