Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 22 June 1797

To James Madison

Philadelphia June 22. 97.

The Senate have this day rejected their own bill for raising a provisional army of 15,000. men. I think they will reject that for permitting private vessels to arm. The Representatives have thrown out the bill of the Senate for raising artillery. They yesterday put off one forbidding our citizens to serve in foreign vessels of war, till Nov. by a vote of 52. to 44. This day they came to a resolution proposing to the Senate to adjourn on Wednesday the 28th. by a majority of 4. Thus it is now perfectly understood that the convocation of Congress is substantially condemned by their several decisions that nothing is to be done. I may be with you somewhat later than I had expected. Say from the 1st. to the 4th.—Preliminaries of peace between Austria and France are signed.—Dana has declined the mission to France. Gerry is appointed in his room, being supported in Senate by the republican vote. 6. nays of the opposite description. No news of Monroe or Paine. Adieu à revoir.

RC (DLC: Madison Papers, Rives Collection); unsigned; at foot of text: “Mr. Madison.” PrC (DLC).

On 16 June 1797, William L. Smith reported a bill prohibiting United States citizens from serving on foreign vessels or entering the military of any foreign power. The House debated the bill on 20 and 21 June 1797 before deciding to postpone action on it until the next session (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , iii, 36, 39–42; Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United StatesCompiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , vii, 349–57).

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