James Madison Papers
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From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 28 May 1806

To Thomas Jefferson

Washington May 28. 1806

Dear Sir

The last mail brought me yours inclosing the letters to you from P. Edwards & Mr. Gallatin,1 which I retain for your return. The supplemental instruction to A. & Bowdoin had not escaped attention.

Subpœnas have this day been served on Genl. Dearborn, Mr. Smith & myself.2 The absence of Mr. Gallatin postpones the service on him. Mr. Wagner, Docr. Thornton, & Mr. Duncanson,3 & Mr. Bradley of Vermont, are also on the list of Witnesses, brought by the Messenger, and either have been or will be summoned. It is perhaps not unfortunate that so aggregate a blow has been aimed at the administration, as it places in a stronger view the malice of the proceeding and the inconvenience to the public business which would result from an attendance of all the heads of Dept. Still I find a strong impression existing that the attendance is inevitable. Yrs. &c.

J. Madison

RC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). Docketed by Jefferson.

2JM, Henry Dearborn, Robert Smith, and the others were subpoenaed to appear as witnesses in the upcoming trials of William Stephens Smith and Samuel G. Ogden for violation of the Neutrality Act in having financed and allowed Francisco de Miranda’s expedition against Venezuela to arm and leave from New York. On 8 July 1806 JM and the other cabinet officials refused to appear, claiming that “it is with regret we have to state to the Court, that the President of the U.S. taking into view the state of our public affairs, has specially signified to us that our official duties cannot, consistently therewith, be at this juncture dispensed with” (Lloyd, Trials of William S. Smith and Samuel G. Ogden for Misdemeanours [Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 13743], vi–vii, ix–x, xvi, 80; Racine, Francisco de Miranda, 169–70; Donald O. Stewart, American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America [New York, 2011], 123; National Intelligencer, 23 July 1806).

3In 1795 William Mayne Duncanson (d. 1812) came to Washington with Thomas Law with whom he engaged in various real estate speculations until they had a falling-out. He became a merchant and was among the sponsors of the Washington Canal but lost his fortune before his death. In the trial he was quoted as implying to William Stephens Smith that Jefferson had approved of Miranda’s expedition (Allen Culling Clark, Greenleaf and Law in the Federal City [Washington, D.C., 1901], 263–83; Lloyd, Trials of William S. Smith and Samuel G. Ogden [Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 13743], 125–26, 194–95).

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