Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 13 September 1802

To James Madison

Monticello Sep. 13. 1802.

Dear Sir

I now return you the papers which came in your letter of the 11th. I am not satisfied that the ground taken by Chancellor Livingston is advantageous. for the French government & the Spanish have only to grant him all he asks (and they will in justice & policy do that at once) and his mouth must be shut: because after-sought objections would come from him to great disadvantage. whereas the true & solid objection remains in full force, after they shall have the merit of granting all he asks.

Judge Law’s letter can be nothing more than an effort to save himself from the appearance of retreating. The Commrs. will surely exhibit their appointments to him, in the expectation of being called into action. if they do not the District attorney (according to what I propose) will on the application of the judge ask appointments from us.

I inclose you a letter from the Mayor of New York, who asks a guard or guards from us to prevent the French blacks from escaping into the country. if a guard to their hospital would suffice, that could be admitted under the provisions of the Quarentine law: and Genl. Dearborne (with whom I concur) seems disposed to this. I think therefore to leave to his discretion to order the guard. but I think it would be well that you should write a friendly explanation of the measure to mr Pichon, to whom it might otherwise wear an unfriendly aspect. I cannot but view this case as still lying substantially within the police of the states, and that we have only small & incidental relations with it; viz. as within the cases of contraband or smuggling.   Colo. Monroe has in contemplation to carry his family down on Thursday, not to return. mr Short & Bp. Madison arrived here yesterday. we shall hope to see you here before Monroe goes, as I think an interview with him would not be unuseful. Will you be pleased to order a commission for Wm. Carey to be collector of York vice Wm. Reynolds dead? Accept my affectionate salutations

Th: Jefferson

P.S. return Livingston’s letter to the War office

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); at foot of text: “ The Secretary of State.” PrC (DLC). Recorded in SJL as a letter to the State Department with notation “sundries.” Enclosure: Edward Livingston to Henry Dearborn, 1 Sep. (see Dearborn to TJ, 8 Sep., and TJ to Dearborn, 13 Sep.).

JUDGE LAW’S LETTER: Madison had evidently passed along a letter from Richard Law that has not been found. “I will communicate the names of the Comms. of Bankruptcy in Connecticut to Judge Law by this day’s mail,” Daniel Brent wrote to Madison on 7 Sep. “I forward a letter herewith, just reced. from him” (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends ., 3:556). For an earlier letter from Law to TJ, see TJ to Madison, 9 Aug.

ON THURSDAY: that is, 16 Sep.; the 13th was a Monday.

AN INTERVIEW WITH HIM WOULD NOT BE UNUSEFUL: it was perhaps on one of the occasions when TJ and Monroe were both in Albemarle County in August and September that TJ received from Monroe an untitled, undated essay that began “The acquisition of Louisiana by the French govt. seems to have excited much alarm in the UStates.” Monroe probably wrote the comments with the intent of publishing them in a newspaper, for two similar pieces by him, also on the subject of Louisiana, appeared anonymously in the Richmond Examiner on 5 and 12 May 1802. In the essay that came into TJ’s possession, Monroe argued against any potential alliance of the United States and Great Britain to counter the retrocession of Louisiana to France (MS in DLC: TJ Papers, 126:21776–9, entirely in Monroe’s hand; Dft in ViFreJM; Daniel Preston and others, eds., The Papers of James Monroe, 4 vols. to date [Santa Barbara, Calif., 2003– ], 4:589–91, 593–5, 599–601).

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