Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 21 June 1792

To James Madison

Philadelphia June 21. 1792.

Dear Sir

Your No. 1. came to hand two days ago. When I inclosed you the papers of the last week I was too much hurried to write. I now therefore write earlier, and inclose only one of Fenno’s papers. The residue of the New York election was as follows

Clinton Jay
Albany 444. 1 178 The Otsego votes were rejected, about 1000. in number, of which Jay had about 850. say a majority of 700. so that he was really governor by a majority of 500. votes, according to his friends.
Montgomy. 306. 424
Herkimer. 247. 401
Ontario. 28. 92
Total. 8,457. 8,315
difference 142

The Clintonians again tell strange tales about these votes of Otsego. I inclose you two New York papers which will put you fully in possession of the whole affair1 (take care of them if you please, as they make part of a collection). It does not seem possible to defend Clinton as a just or disinterested man if he does not decline the office, of which there is no symptom; and I really apprehend that the cause of republicanism will suffer, and it’s votaries be thrown into schism by embarking it in support of this man, and for what? to draw over the Antifederalists, who are not numerous enough to be worth drawing over. I have lately seen a letter from —— to —— on receiving his appointment. He pleads guilty to the charge of indiscretion hitherto, and promises for the future the most measured circumspection, and in terms which mark him properly and gratefully impressed with the counsel which had been given him pretty strongly as you know.—I have made out my table; but instead of settling the proportion of the debt of each country to it’s population, I have done it to it’s revenue. It is as follows.

Date Country Public debt Annual
of debt to
U.S. of Amer.
£ sterl. £ sterl. Zimmerm.
1786. Gr. Britain 239,154,879 15,000,000 16:1 224.
livres livres
1785. France 3,400,000,000 430,000,000 8:1 265.
silver dollrs.
1772. Sweden 60,000,000 11,089,122 5.4:1 59.
florins florins
Austria. 200,000,000 95,000,000 2.1:1 157 
rubles rubles
1765. Russia. 40,000,000 20,000,000 2:1 40 
£. sterl. £ sterl.
1774. Portugal 3,675,381 1,800,000 2:1 336 
piastres piastres
1785. Spain 152,000,000 100,000,000 1.5:1 317 
dollars dollars
1769 Denmark 1,400,000 6,272,000 0.22:1 75.
Prussia. 21,000,000 143.

I have not yet examined into the debt of the U.S. but I suppose it to be about 20. years revenue, and consequently that tho the youngest nation in the world we are the most indebted nation also. I did not go into the debts and revenues of the United Netherlands, because they are so jumbled between general and provincial, and because a great deal of their debt, is made by borrowing at low interest and lending it at high, and consequently not only this part is to be struck off from the amount of their debt, but so much of the residue of it also as has it’s interest paid by this means.—Brandt, the famous Indian is arrived here; he dined with the P. yesterday, will dine with Knox to-day, Hammond on Sunday, the Presidt. on Monday &c. Adieu my dear Sir. Your’s affectionately

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); at head of text: “No. 4.”; at foot of first page: “Mr. Madison.” PrC (DLC). Tr (DLC); 19th-century copy.

The letter TJ had lately seen from Gouverneur Morris to the President of 6 Apr. 1792 was one in which Morris promised to display the most measured circumspection in his dealings with the French government (DLC: Washington Papers). Zimmerm.: Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann, A Political Survey of the Present State of Europe (London, 1787). See Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 2405. Joseph Brant, the noted Mohawk chief, had come to Philadelphia at the express invitation of the Washington administration, which wanted him to bring American peace proposals to the Western Indians with whom the United States was in conflict. Brant’s reluctant assumption of this mission is described in Isabel T. Kelsay, Joseph Brant, 1743–1807: Man of Two Worlds (Syracuse, 1984), 458–82.

1Remainder of sentence interlined.

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