James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Richard Rush, 6 September 1817

From Richard Rush

Washington September 6. 1817.

Dear Sir.

Considering the struggle that is now going on in Pennsylvania, as not wholly local, I have been led to dip my pen in it. A month ago I threw together some remarks for one of the newspapers. They unexpectedly came back to me a few days since in the form of a two-penny pamphlet. I venture to enclose you one of them for the amusement of a leisure moment.1

Although no official promulgation has yet been made, to you it cannot be unknown what intentions Mr Monroe has formed in relation to the mission at London.2 It is probable that I may embark about the middle of next month. I go with a solicitude which I have never before felt as respects the extent and importance of the duties that may lie in my path. I am specially charged by Mrs Rush, who is at present with her parents at Annapolis, to say on her behalf to Mrs Madison, that if there should ever be any little commissions which she can execute for her on the other side of the water, it will be peculiarly gratifying to her to be commanded at all times, and in all ways.

I have to return my thanks for your obliging and acceptable letter on the Pernambuco affair.3 It is true, the rocket soon fell like a stick; but the course taken by the government is still supposed to rest unchanged upon its original merits.

We have nothing at the department, as yet, which lends countenance to the report of the intentions of Russia as to Spanish affairs.4 The latest dates from Mr Pinkney,5 do not reach lower than the beginning of May. I look for the President by the 12th or 15; for Mr Adams by the 20th of the month.

I heard, with great concern, some weeks ago, that you were unwell; but with proportionate pleasure lately, through Mr Cutts, that you were in health again. While abroad I shall ask the priviledge of sometimes visiting the retirement of Montpelier with a letter, being, dear sir, with increasing attachment to your fame, and the sincerest affection for your person, yours with faithful respect,

Richard Rush.

RC (PHi: Richard Rush Papers).

1Rush had written a pamphlet under the pseudonym “Marius” entitled To the Democratic Electors of the State of Pennsylvania … (Philadelphia, 1817; Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 41349) (Rush to Jonathan Roberts, 11 Aug. 1817, The Letters and Papers of Richard Rush, ed. Anthony M. Brescia [microfilm ed.; 29 reels; Wilmington, Del., 1980], reel 6). Rush weighed in on the Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, defending current governor Simon Snyder’s record and promoting the candidacy of the Democratic Republican William Findlay. According to Rush, a vote for the independent Joseph Hiester would be a vote for a Federalist administration and, while Federalism was now “prostrate,” it was just waiting for its chance to reemerge as a powerful political party.

2It is unclear just when James Monroe chose Richard Rush to succeed John Quincy Adams as U.S. minister to Great Britain, but it had been arranged by the time of the latter’s return to the United States in August 1817. Monroe nominated Rush for the position on 12 Dec. 1817, and the Senate confirmed him three days later (J. H. Powell, Richard Rush: Republican Diplomat, 1780–1859 [Philadelphia, 1942], 79; Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 3:95, 97–98).

4Rush may have been referring to a notice under a New York dateline in the Daily National Intelligencer of 6 Sept. 1817 that “Russia has engaged to support the cause of Ferdinand VII. in Spanish America, with a squadron including six ships of the line, and an army of from 15 to 20,000 men, in consideration of the cession of Old and New California, the Island of Minorca & certain commercial advantages by Spain to Russia.”

5William Pinkney (1764–1822) was a Maryland lawyer and politician whose first of many foreign posts was as a commissioner in London to handle U.S. claims under article 7 of the Jay treaty, 1796–1804. In 1806, Thomas Jefferson sent him back to London to negotiate, with James Monroe, an agreement with Great Britain on impressments. Although Jefferson repudiated the treaty they produced, Pinkney remained to serve as U.S. minister to Great Britain, 1807–11. In 1811 JM appointed Pinkney U.S. attorney general, an office he retained until 1814. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1815, he resigned the next year to become U.S. minister to Russia. Returning to the United States in 1818, Pinkney was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served until his death.

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