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To Thomas Jefferson from James Monroe, [11] January 1792

From James Monroe

Thursday [i.e. Wednesday] 9-oclock Jany. [11]-1792

Dear Sir

You will have heard that upon the discussion of G.M.’s merits, the foreign business was postponed untill tomorrow, nothing having been done respecting the Hague. The order of proceeding required that a similar question shod. have been taken respecting that court that had been as to the others. But owing I presume to the friends of the gentn. in nomination for it, being in opposition to the system, it was impossible it shod. proceed from them and the friends of the others being gratified in opening the door for them, were regardless of any other object. Tis important for Mr. S. that the question shod. be previously taken, and I can devise no means of accomplishing it, so effecatious as your communicating it to Mr. Hawkins, either personally or thro Mr. Madison and as soon as possible.

The communication respecting the Missisippi, after adjournment, led to a conversation, introduced by Mr. Izard countenanced by my colleague and supported by Cabot, wherein the policy of opening it was strongly reprehended. The arguments in its favor were those of a quondam party; but the ill-success of the military operations have given them new force. As I presume you have heard what passed in the other business and shall omit any thing further at present. Yrs. affectionately,

Jas. Monroe

RC (DLC: Rives Papers); that Monroe erred in the day of the week and that the letter was written on the evening of 11 Jan. 1792 is proved both by TJ’s covering letter to Madison of 12 Jan. 1792 and by proceedings in the Senate on the 11th postponing consideration of nominations to foreign courts and taking up TJ’s report of 22 Dec. 1791 (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , i, 95). Not recorded in SJL.

Richard Henry Lee was the colleague of Monroe who shared the belief of Ralph Izard of South Carolina and George Cabot of Massachusetts that the Mississippi should not be opened to navigation by Americans (see Lee to Washington, 15 July 1787, in Burnett, Letters of Members description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress, Washington, 1921-1936, 8 vols. description ends , viii, 620–1). The communication that raised the issue was Washington’s nomination of Short and William Carmichael as joint commissioners to settle the Mississippi question with the Spanish government (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828 description ends , i, 95–6).

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