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§ From George Washington. Ca. 1789–1796. Three notes requesting consultation with JM on unspecified matters: “Thursday, 9 oclk. “If you could make it convenient to call here before you go to the House, you would oblige me. I want to have some conversation with you on two or three matters. Yrs Affectly.” “Sunday ½ past 7 oclk. “If you have leisure to give the enclosed a reading, and me an...
Candidates Objects Recommendations Major J. Gibbon some place in the Customs By Col: Ths. M. Randolph Sharp Delaney Collection at Philada. By Mr. Peters. He is now Collector Jno. Hopkins Whatever place may be in lieu of the loan office in Virginia He is now loan Officer Hudson Muse Collection on Rappahannock Now Collector General Stephens Collection at Norfolk or some other place in the...
The term had not yet been coined, but JM was ghostwriting speeches for Washington during the earliest stages of the first president’s tenure. Until Washington’s official family had been established by law and the offices filled, JM was the president’s confidential adviser. In his first dealings with Congress, Washington relied on him to give substance and tone to commonly held ideas on...
Letter not found. 3 May 1789. Acknowledged in JM to Pendleton, 17 May 1789 . The list probably kept by Peter Force (DLC: Madison Miscellany) notes that Pendleton wrote a two-page letter to JM from Virginia on this day. The summary reads: “Organization of the new government. Mr. Madison’s proposition for making provision for revenue. Virginia’s disqualifying act. Anti-federal State Elections....
I am obliged by yr. two kind favrs. of the 8th. & 19th. Past. I was indeed surprised, & in some measure Chagrined at the tardy Assembling of the members of the fœdral legislature, betraying a want of Zeal Which is rather unfavorable, tho’ it might, & I hope did, proceed from causes less reprehensible, & which may be manifested by future dilligence. Before this time the Government will have...
Before this day’s debate began, JM gave notice that on 25 May he would introduce the subject of amendments. “He thought it necessary thus early to mention the business, as it was weighty and important” ( Gazette of the U.S. , 6 May 1789). The postponed tonnage clauses were then taken up. Laurance moved to strike out the discrimination between countries having a commercial treaty with the...
Notwithstanding the conviction I am under of the labour which is imposed upon you by Public Individuals as well as public bodies—yet, as you have begun, so I could wish you to finish, the good work in a short reply to the Address of the House of Representatives (which I now enclose) that there may be an accordance in this business. Thursday 12 Oclock, I have appointed to receive the Address....
Mr. Peter Carr will deliver this. He has taken the opportunity of the Spring Vacation, to visit New York, but is apprehensive you may not immedy. recollect him, & has therefore desired me to notify him to you. I am greatly obliged for your Favour of the 19h. Apl., and am happy to find, you have not only entered upon the arduous Task of legislating for this extended Continent, but that there...
Notwithstanding the conviction I am under of the labour which is imposed upon you by Public Individuals as well as public bodies—Yet, as you have began, so I would wish you to finish, the good work in a short reply to the Address of the House of Representatives (which I now enclose) that there may be an accordance in this business. Thursday 12 O’clock, I have appointed to receive the Address....
The Representatives of the People of the United States present their congratulations on the event by which your fellow-citizens have attested the pre-eminence of your merit. You have long held the first place in their esteem: you have often received tokens of their affection. You now possess the only proof that remained of their gratitude for your services, of their reverence for your wisdom,...
11Tonnage Duties, [5 May] 1789 (Madison Papers)
Jackson moved to lower the proposed duty on vessels from nations having commercial treaties with the United States from thirty to twenty cents, pointing out the burden high tonnage duties placed on the agricultural exporting states of the South. Mr. Madison . I believe every gentleman who hears the observations from the different quarters of this house, discovers great reason for every friend...
Letter not found. 5 May 1789. Acknowledged in Hawkins to JM, 1 June 1789 . Encloses draft of the House of Representatives’ address to President Washington.
13Tonnage Duties, [7 May] 1789 (Madison Papers)
JM moved to lower the tonnage duty on ships of countries which had no alliance with the United States from fifty to forty cents until the end of 1790, when it would be raised to seventy-five cents. Mr. Madison . As there is a great diversity of sentiment respecting the policy of the duty, I am very happy to find it is not prescribed by the geographical situation of our country; this evinces...
It was with great pleasure that I received the accounts of your election; this satisfaction has been made compleat by finding so great a majority of friends to the new Government in the list of members. Do not its enemies acknowledge this to be a sufficient evidence of the disposition and sentiments of the people at large? I am more fully satisfied every day that the opposition proceeded in a...
My last was of the 29th. March. A few days ago I had the pleasure of yours of the 12. Jany. I thank you for your attention to the works of the Abbè Barthelemy and the Marquis Condorcet, And wish much that your attempts to procure me a genuine copy of the King of Prussia’s may succeed. I send you herewith the first No. of the Congressional Register, which will give you some idea of the...
16Import Duties, [9 May] 1789 (Madison Papers)
The impost bill, first read on 5 May, was under consideration by the Committee of the Whole. Tucker, seeking a general reduction of duties, moved to lower the tax on Jamaica rum to six cents a gallon. Mr. Madison . The right understanding of this subject is of great importance; the discussion has been drawn out to a very considerable length on former occasions. The chain of ideas on which the...
My last was of the 29th. March. A few days ago I had the pleasure of yours of the 12. Jany. I thank you for your attention to the works of the Abbè Barthelemy and the Marquis Condorcet, and wish much that your attempts to procure me a genuine copy of the King of Prussia’s writings may succeed. I send you herewith the first No. of the Congressional Register, which will give you some idea of the...
Whilst I thank you for your favr of the 23d. Ult: I must remind you that it does not contain the promised information on the Case of the French Consul here. I am led to it by being myself just reminded by him of the omission on my part. The plan of an immediate temporary impost was what first occurred on the subject. It is not yet abandoned, but the practicability is questionable. The plan of...
No safe opportunity offering, the letter for Mr. Nelson has not been forwarded, and I shall now reserve it for him untill the chancery term commences which will be in a day or two —those from Mr. Jefferson have been attended to, the one to Dr. Currie I have delivered, that for Mr. Lewis met a ready conveyance by Mr. Bob Nelson who was here, when it came to hand, on his way to Charlottesville,...
The enclosed were communicated to me, as you will perceive, to make a confidential use of—upon receipt of the first letter, I expressed a desire to be informed (if there was nothing improper in it) through what channel the report came, and what reliance could be placed in the authenticity of it—This gave rise to the second letter —As you are upon business which requires every information of...
My last to you was of the 15th. of March. I am now in hourly expectation of recieving my leave of absence. The delay of it a little longer will endanger the throwing my return into the winter, the very idea of which is horror itself to me. I am in hopes this is the last letter I shall have the pleasure of writing you before my departure. The madness of the king of England has gone off, but...
The enclosed were communicated to me (as you will perceive) to make a Confidential use of. Upon receipt of the first letter I expressed a desire to be informed (if there was nothing improper in it) through what channel the report came, and what reliance could be placed in the authenticity of it. This produced the sec’d letter. As you are upon business which requires every information of the...
The debate concerned a title for the executive office. Should the House appoint a committee to confer with a Senate counterpart on the proper title for the president? The House had already indicated its disapproval of majestic titles to the Senate, but the senators refused to accept this decision. A Senate committee had recommended on 9 May that the president be addressed as “ His Highness the...
My last to you was of the 15th. of March. I am now in hourly expectation of recieving my leave of absence. The delay of it a little longer will endanger the throwing my return into the winter, the very idea of which is horror itself to me. I am in hopes this is the last letter I shall have the pleasure of writing you before my departure. The madness of the king of England has gone off, but...
To draw such a line for the conduct of the President as will please every body, I know is impossible; but to mark out and follow one (which by being consonant with reason) will meet general approbation, may be as practicable as it is desireable. The true medium I conceive must lye in pursuing such a course as will allow him time for all the official duties of his station—This should be the...
I had the pleasure to receive your favor of the 8th. Ult. inclosing the application of William Mason. I did transmit to Colo. Merewether certain papers of this Man and long ago informed him that they were insufficient to establish his claim which recd. no aid from the Muster Rolls of the Army. I do not now recollect signing the Rect. of which he sends a Copy, but it is highly probable I did,...
To draw such a line for the conduct of the President as will please every body, I know is impossible; but to mark out and follow one (which by being consonant with reason) will meet general approbation, may be as practicable as it is desireable. The true medium I conceive must lye in pursuing such a course as will allow him time for all the official duties of his station. This should be the...
28Import Duties, [12 May] 1789 (Madison Papers)
The committee had resumed consideration of the impost bill. The question was whether to strike out the six-cent duty on molasses. Ames suggested that an excise on country rum was preferable to a duty on molasses. Mr. Madison Said his mind was incapable of discovering any plan that would answer the purpose the committee have in view, and not produce greater evils than the one under...
I have been favored with yours of April . The newspapers will have given you some idea of our proceedings, though in a state always mutilated, and often perverted. The Impost is still the subject of deliberation. The general quantum of duties has at some periods been a source of discussion. At others, the ratio of particular duties, have produced still more of it. The proper one between rum &...
Parker moved to fix a duty of ten dollars on each slave imported into the United States. Some congressmen who were sympathetic with Parker’s object preferred a separate bill on slave imports. Mr. Madison . I cannot concur with gentlemen who think the present an improper time or place to enter into a discussion of the proposed motion; if it is taken up in a seperate view, we shall do the same...
14 May 1789. “The Committee of the Senate appointed to confer with a Committee of the House of representatives upon the Subject of Title have agreed to give it as their opinion to the Senate—That for preserving harmony with the H. of Representatives it will be proper for the present to follow the practise of that House in presenting their Address to the President of the United States without...
32Import Duties, [15 May] 1789 (Madison Papers)
JM moved to add a clause to the impost bill limiting its duration. Mr. Madison . When he offered this amendment to the bill, he thought its propriety was so obvious and striking, that it would meet no opposition. To pass a bill, not limited in duration, which was to draw revenue from the pockets of the people, appeared to be dangerous in the administration of any government; he hoped therefore...
Letter not found. 15 May 1789. Acknowledged in JM to Eliza House Trist, 21 May 1789 . Reports illness of her son, Hore Browse Trist.
Letter not found. 16 May 1789. Calendared in the lists probably kept by Peter Force (DLC: Madison Miscellany). The three-page letter was offered for sale in the Stan. V. Henkels Catalogue No. 694 (1892), which listed items from the McGuire collection of JM’s papers.
Mr Madison having been so obliging as to draw the answer to the address of the House of Representatives—G.W. would thank him for doing the same to that of the Senate. If he receives it any time this day or tomorrow morning it will be sufficient. AL , DLC : Madison Papers. The date of this document is conjectural. Madison docketed the letter—apparently some years after the fact—“G. Washington...
Your favor of the 3d. instant was not recd. till two days ago. It is not certain however that the post office is chargeable with the delay, the date of its receipt stamped at Fredg. being the 16th. of the month. The progress of our revenue system continues to be slow. The bill rating the duties is still with the Senate. It is said that many alterations will be proposed, consisting of...
Mr. Madison having been so obliging as to draw the answer to the Address of the House of Representatives—GW. would thank him for doing the same to that of the Senate. If he receives it any time this day or tomorrow morning it will be sufficient. RC ( DLC ); Tr ( MH ). Late in life JM docketed the RC : “G. Washington without date—(perhaps 1789,) 90 or 91.” Fitzpatrick ( Writings of Washington ,...
While I acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 10th. instant, I must assign as my apology for forgetting to answer the legal question, that a variety of family sickness has taken away a cool attention to business. The deed, to which the inclosed memorandum relates was executed in France. The following extract from a law of the revised code, intituled an act for regulating conveyances,...
At Baltimore & Norfolk and wherever I touched since I left New York I have heard Complaints that Molasses was to be taxed six Cents. This is what I did not expect in southern States, but they say that Molasses is a necessary Part of food for the Poor. In Virginia the Complaints I have heard are very loud that the Vessels of Foreigners not treating are only taxed 50 Cents. This trifling Tax...
The House took up the establishment of executive departments. JM moved the creation of foreign affairs, treasury, and war departments. The debate centered on the clause vesting in the president alone the power to remove the officers heading these departments. Smith (South Carolina) contended that impeachment was the only constitutional means of removal. Mr. Madison Did not concur with the...
Gerry proposed to place the treasury in the hands of three commissioners. Baldwin preferred a single secretary, with subordinates serving as a check upon his authority. Mr. Madison Had intended to have given his sentiments on this subject; but he was anticipated in some things by the gentleman last up. He wished, in all cases of an executive nature, that the committee should consider the...
Your favor of the 15th. gave me the first information of Browse’s illness. I hope his recovery is by this time established, as well as that of your mamma. My letters from Virginia give me room to fear much for the situation of the same relation. She was in bad health when I came away, and I understand that she has continued to decline till her case is extremely critical. I send to the post...
I am just informed by Govr Johnston that a Treaty is to be held on the 24th Inst at french Broad by the Indian Agent for the southern Departmt & the three Commissioners from the States of Georgia South Carolina & North Carolina. That Sevier lately called Governor of an insurgented State has submitted to the Govt of North Carolina and taken the accustomed Oaths. There is an End to the new, so...
Mr. Carroll presents his complits to Mr. Madison returns him the inclosed estimate, & is much obliged to Mr. Madison for the perusal of it. Quere how the deficiency on this branch of revenue is to be made good? Would not an excise on ardent spirits, foreign & domestic be adviseable? Stamp duties I hope may be collected to defray the expence of the federal Judiciary. RC ( DLC ). Addressed by...
The inclosed Address was voted unanimously and contains, I believe, the genuine Sentiments of much the greatest part of the Inhabitants of this Country; The State of North Carolina having no Agent or any person in a publick Character at this time in New York, I take the liberty to request the favor of you to deliver it, my Motive for troubling you on this occasion rather than any one else,...
46Citizenship, [22 May] 1789 (Madison Papers)
The House took up the petition of David Ramsay, who claimed that the election of William Smith of South Carolina was invalid because he had not been a citizen for seven years when elected ( Ramsay to JM, 4 Apr. 1789 and n. 2). Mr. Madison. I think the merit of the question is now to be decided, whether the gentleman is eligible to a seat in this house or not, but it will depend on the decision...
This will I expect be handed you by a young gentleman, Mr. Colden, the son of an amiable lady of that name within the circle of my acquaintance in this place. I need not apprize you that the family, of which Governour Colden is the Ancestor, is a respectable one. The young gentleman has been in Scotland for some years, pursuing his education, and with the approbation of his friends proposes to...
This will I expect be handed you by a young gentleman, Mr. Colden, the son of an amiable lady of that name within the circle of my acquaintance in this place. I need not apprize you that the family, of which Governour Colden is the ancestor, is a respectable one. The young gentleman has been in Scotland for some years, pursuing his education, and with the approbation of his friends proposes to...
We are told that Genl Person the bell Weather of Opposition in this State continues indefatigable in his Endeavours to preserve the Spirit of Antifederalism in the State. Our Judges, two of them at least, there are three, continue most malignant anti’s. They seem to think that the new Court will cast a Shade on them. Whether the constitution will or will not be adopted by the next Convention...
Since my last which was written on sunday last and included an introduction of young Mr. Colden who is to be the bearer of it from Scotland where he now resides, I have had the pleasure of yours of March 15. My former letters will have made known to you the obstacles to a licence for your visit to America. The new authority has not yet taken up your application. As soon as the auxiliary...