Thomas Jefferson Papers
Documents filtered by: Author="Jefferson, Thomas" AND Recipient="Madison, James" AND Period="Adams Presidency"
sorted by: author

From Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 14 June 1798

To James Madison

June 14. 98.

I wrote you last on the 7th. since which yours of the 3d. is recieved. your next (which I shall still be here to recieve on the 19th) will probably acknolege mine of May 31. and will perhaps be your last as you would see by mine of the 7th. that I should leave this on the 20th. which I still purpose. the new citizen or naturalization bill is past the Senate also. it requires 14. years residence to make a citizen. it had friends in both parties. the whigs apprehended that the success of the invasion of England would drive all their aristocracy here. their opponents believing still in the final failure of the revolution of France, & the safety of England, apprehended a deluge of the democrats of both countries. we were within one vote however in the Senate of striking out 14 years & inserting 7. Langdon who would have been for it had previously declined voting on the bill at all, because he had just taken his seat, his vote would have divided the Senate 12. & 12. the bill suspending intercourse with the French dominions is signed by the President. the bill for assessing lands houses & slaves came up to the Senate yesterday. the classification of houses had been struck out of it. the second bill, for laying the tax on these subjects, is still before the R. the Senate have brought in a bill authorizing the President to accept of any number of armed vessels, not exceeding 12, & carrying not less than 22. nine pounders, which any individuals may build and cede on terms he shall approve, by way of loan. but neither the terms as to interest or paiment of the principal, nor the maximum of size are limited, but a proposition to limit was rejected. some treated the apprehension that large ships might be obtained as chimerical, while others wished they might be all of the line, and at least 3, 4, or a half a dozen 74s. this bill is in fact to open a loan in the form of ships. Harper has brought in resolutions for authorising the President to borrow money for the excess of this year’s expences above the taxes. no other limitation of sum. I do not believe we can borrow any considerable sum but in London. some think the bank of the US. may lend as far as a couple of millions. the opinion of their connection with the government has already sunk their shares from 23. to 20. while those of Pennsylvania have risen from 23. to 25. above par. the British captures of our vessels have multiplied greatly. our stopping intercourse with France will keep that portion of our vessels out of their way. they will still take those bound to Dutch & Spanish ports. the committees of the two houses appointed jointly to propose a time of adjournmt. have not yet reported; so that it is still uncertain whether & when they will adjourn. my horses are to meet me at Fredericksburg on Sunday the 24th. whether I can reach you the next day is uncertain. probably not. Innes is still living. he has been carried into the country.—the window cord shall be added to the other articles. no vessel for Fredericksburg has yet occurred. this of course will be my last to you from hence. friendly salutations to mrs Madison the family & yourself and affectionately Adieu.

P.S. flour at Baltimore 4.50 D here 5 D. the farmers of this state have almost universally their last year’s crop of wheat & flour still in their own hands.

P.M. the joint committees for adjournmt have reported that they think it not improbable that Congress may adjourn from the middle of July to the 1st. of October, but they do not think it prudent to fix a day at present.

RC (DLC: Madison Papers, Rives Collection); addressed: “James Madison junr. near Orange court house”; franked. PrC (DLC); endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

On 6 June Benjamin Goodhue brought in a bill authorizing the president to accept of any number of armed vessels, either as a gift or a loan. Sent back to committee, the bill was amended on 12 June to limit the number of vessels to 12, with the force of at least “twenty guns, nine pounders.” The next day a motion to limit interest on vessels loaned to the government to six percent and a proposition to limit the number of guns were defeated. On 14 June the Senate passed the bill, 16 to 7, and sent it to the House (printed bill with TJ’s notations in DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 5th Cong., 2d sess.; JS, description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends 2:502, 505, 507–8). The House passed a bill of its own as a supplement to the “act to provide an additional armament for the further protection of the trade of the United States,” that, like the Senate bill, authorized the president to obtain 12 vessels in addition to the 12 agreed to in April 1798 but limited interest to six percent and set gun sizes for the 24 vessels—6 not to exceed 18 guns each, another 6 at 32 or more guns each, and 12 at 20 to 24 guns each. On 28 June the Senate agreed to the bill with minor changes (printed bill with TJ’s notations in DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 5th Cong., 2d sess.; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 3:339, 343, 349–51, 356; JS, description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends 2:519–21; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 1:552, 575–6). For the Navy’s acquisition of vessels under this legislation, see Smelser, Navy description begins Marshall Smelser, The Congress Founds the Navy, 1787–1798, South Bend, Ind., 1959 description ends , 170.

On 12 June Robert Goodloe Harper offered two resolutions, one authorising the president to borrow money to cover government expenses for 1798. The act, as finally approved on 16 July, allowed the president to borrow a sum not to exceed five million dollars from the Bank of the United States and elsewhere on such terms as he judged most advantageous. The second resolution called for monies for the new regiment of artillerists and engineers raised under the act of 27 Apr. 1798. On 28 June, the president signed legislation appropriating $88,000 for the regiment (Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United StatesCompiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , 8:1899; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 1:552–3, 575, 607–8).

Index Entries