James Madison Papers
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From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 7 December 1810

To Thomas Jefferson

Washington Der. 7. 1810

Dear Sir

The letter inclosed came to me as you see it;1 and tho’ probably meant more for me than you, is forwarded according to its ostensible destination.

We have nothing from abroad, more than has been made public. The latest date from Pinkn[e]y is the 3d. of Ocr.2 The arrival of Novr. will have been some test, positive or negative of the views of England. Her party here seems puzzled more than usual. If they espouse her Blockades, they must sink under the odium. And this course is the more desperate, as it is possible that she may abandon them herself, under the duress of events.

Lincoln does not yield to the call I made in a private & pressing letter. Still some wish him to be appointed, hoping he may serve for a time.3 Granger has stirred up recommendations throughout the Eastern States. The means by which this has been done are easily conjectured, & outweigh the recommendations themselves. The soundest Republicans of N. England are making head agst. him, as infected with Yazooizm, and intrigue. They wish for J. Q. Adams as honest, able, independent, & untainted with such objections. There are others however in the view of the Southern Republicans; tho’ perhaps less formidable to them, than Yazooizm on the Supreme Bench. If there be other Candidates they are disqualified either politically, morally, or intellectually. Such is a prospect before me, which your experience will make you readily understand.

Rodney has not yet joined us; & of course draws on himself the blame even of his best friends. And I just learn that his plan of bringing his family here, for which he has a House engaged, is broken up by the loss of his furniture, which, in coming round by sea, share the fate of a wreck on the Eastern Shore. The loss is increased by the addition of his Law Books & valuable papers. He has hopes however, of saving such articles as have been able to bear a compleat steeping in Salt water. Be assured always of my sincer[e]st affection

James Madison

RC (DLC). Docketed by Jefferson, “recd. Dec. 9.”

1JM was probably referring to a 6 Dec. letter written in Washington by Joseph Dougherty, acknowledging the receipt of a bitch from Jefferson sent “by Mr. Madison’s manager some time ago.” Accompanying the acknowledgment was a request to Jefferson for a loan of $130 to assist Dougherty in his efforts to go into the business of bottling porter and ale (MHi: Jefferson Papers).

2PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (3 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984—). description ends , 2:570.

3JM had evidently just received Levi Lincoln’s letter of 27 Nov. 1810. Sometime after the commencement of Congress on 3 Dec. 1810, JM also received a two-page summary of a letter that Massachusetts Republican Ebenezer Seaver had sent to Levi Lincoln (DLC). The contents were a lengthy plea to Lincoln to overcome his preference for retirement and accept appointment to the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. The alternative, Seaver implied, was the nomination of Gideon Granger, who was unacceptable to the “Middle & Southern States” because of his support for George Clinton’s presidential candidacy in 1808 as well as for his notorious sympathy toward the Yazoo claimants in Congress. Were Granger to be nominated, Seaver continued, “Mr Madisons Enimies J. Randolph at their head are ready to take every advantage of it,” and he believed that the president’s “popularity could not stand the shock.” The Republicans would then be “like a large army scattered over an extensive country attacked by an artfull, insiduous united foe, dividing and conquering in every direction.” In a postscript to the summary, Seaver stated that “the above is the substance of a letter wrote to Judge Lincoln but perhaps not the exact words as a correct copy was not preserved.”

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