Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 21 October 1800

From James Madison

Ocr. 21. 1800

Dear Sir

This will be handed to you by Mr. Altson of S. Carolina, who proposes to call at Monticello on his return from a Northern tour. He will probably be made known to you by other introductions; but those which he has brought to me, as well as a short acquaintance with him make me feel an obligation to add mine. He appears to be intelligent, sound in his principles, and polished in his manner. Coming fresh from N.Y. through Pena. & Maryld. he will be able to furnish many details in late occurrences. The fact of most importance mentioned by him and which is confirmed by letters I have from Burr & Gilston, is that the vote of Rho: Island will be assuredly on the right side. The latter gentleman expresses much anxiety & betrays some jealousy with respect to the integrity of the Southern States in keeping the former one in view for the secondary station. I hope the event will skreen all the parties, particularly Virginia from any imputation on this subject; tho’ I am not without fears, that the requisite concert may not sufficiently pervade the several States. You have no doubt seen the late Paris Statement, as well as the comment on it by Observator who is manifestly Hamilton. The two papers throw a blaze of light on the proceedings of our administration, & must I think, cooperate with other causes, in opening thoroughly the eyes of the people. Sincererely yours Js.

Js. Madison Jr.

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 23 Oct. and so recorded in SJL.

Mr. Altson Joseph Alston.

Letters from both Aaron Burr and David Gelston early in October conveyed assurances of strong Republican prospects for the vote of Rho: Island (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 28 vols. description ends , 17:418–21).

The late Paris statement appeared in a French newspaper of 6 Aug. and first ran in the New-York Gazette and General Advertiser on 29 Sep. It was reprinted in several American newspapers, including the Virginia Herald on 7 Oct. The statement announced the suspension of negotiations in Paris because the powers vested in the American envoys were “too limited to enable them to conclude a treaty” that would afford France the same advantages as England had been given by the Jay Treaty (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 28 vols. description ends , 17:420n).

Hamilton’s essay, “France and America,” was published in the New York Spectator on 8 Oct. under the pseudonym observator (Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , 25:131–9). Hamilton hoped that the two nations would “pass into a state of peace in fact on the basis of the laws of nations” (same, 139).

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