James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Joseph Jones, 22 November 1795

From Joseph Jones

Fredg. 22d. Nov. 1795

Dr. Sr.

I came up in the stage from Richmond on Thursday having the evening before traveled to the oaks to avoid geting up in the night. I left the house at two on wednesday when they were debating a proposition calculated to approve the conduct of their Senators in opposing the Treaty.1 The motion was made on Tuesday by Mr. Page2 and supported by Egglestone.3 Marshall4 objected in a long speech tending to shew the impropriety of the motion wch. tho’ it avoided or meant to avoid a fair discussion of the treaty indirectly involved in it a reprobation of that instrument. He hoped they wod. have come forward fairly to the discussion and bring the question before the house on its merits. C. Lee5 of the same side but on somewhat different ground asserting they had nothing to do with it—the limits of the Gen. & State legislatures were marked were separate and distinct and ought not to encroach on each other. It belonged to the constituted authorities of the Genl. Govt. to act over that authority they had no controul or right of censure. He concluded by moving an amendmt. to the effect I have mentioned this was seconded but no discussion of it excepting some remarks from Egglestone reprobating the sentiments it contained. Mayo6 after some observations conveying his doubts moved that the motion and amendmt. shod. be committed to a Com: of the whole house that a fair and full discussion might take place. G. Taylor7 seconded this Motion, declaring that altho’ he was opposed to the Treaty his mind was open to conviction and wishing not to preclude the fullest and fairest discussion of the subject he willingly concurred in the motion for commitmt. and feared not the consequences of the strictest examination which he said wod he thought rather increase than diminish the numbers in opposition. It was with the amendmt. committed. Before they went into a Com: the next morning—King8 from Hampton arose and expressed his dislike of the motion wch. he thot. involved in it a censure of the conduct of the President that thinking as he did and beleiving the p. incapable of acting agt. the true int. of his country he wod never concur in a vote that implicated his conduct and character and concluded by moving to postpone the consn. of the motion unto the first monday in march next—this motion being seconded and some few observations made was put and a division called for—the numbers were not known as there was no counting—they appeared to be abt. 40 perhaps more who came out in favor of postponing, at least 150 were then in the house—this satisfied me how the matter wod. be finally settled. They went into a Com: and C. Lee proposed an amendmt. to the amendt or in other words a substitute less exceptionable than the first amendt. proposed varying the Idea in this that altho’ the people of right might deliver their Opinions to their representatives yet it was on that occasion inexpedient and improper. Egglestone made some remarks pointed and proper. Lee went into a long and elaborate support of the amendmt. Marshall was on that ground silent as well as on the motion for postponemt. and voted agt. the postponement—the reason I suppose his having challenged and proposed a full discussion. Taylor then went into a full investigation of the Treaty and commenced with stating objections as to its constitutional[it]y upon which point I left him in debate time requiring my leaving Town. They continued the discussion untill Friday night before the question was taken on the original motion when there were as Dawson wrote me a few lines by the mail 100 for […]9 motion. Col. Jno. Taliaferro10 came to Tow⟨n⟩ […] who saw in the Stage Mr. F. Brooke yesterday who told him the question was decided the evening before in manner I have mentioned. Dawson wrote only three lines to inform me the issue and said he wod. be more particular the next mail. Marshall it seems was very able with respect to the constitutionality of the Treaty less on other points he took up on Wednesday and Thursday more than three hours. McCray11 answered Marshall and I am told very well. I shall wait for Dawsons letter on Tuesday and set out the next morning for Loudoun & albemarle—your horse is gone up by the Waggon. I hope you had an agreeable trip. Remember me to the Ladys and beleive me yr. friend & Servt

Jos: Jones

RC (DLC). Addressed by Jones to JM at Philadelphia. Docketed by JM. Damaged by removal of seal.

1On 20 Nov. the Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution approving the conduct of U.S. senators Tazewell and Mason in voting against the Jay treaty. It became a joint resolution when the state Senate passed it on 24 Nov. (Shepherd, Statutes description begins Samuel Shepherd, ed., The Statutes at Large of Virginia, from October Session 1792, to December Session 1806 … (new ser.; 3 vols.; Richmond, 1835–36). description ends , 1:432).

2Mann Page, Jr., represented Spotsylvania County in the House of Delegates, 1776, 1778–85, 1786–87, and 1795–96 (Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , p. 414).

3Joseph Eggleston (1754–1811) graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1776 and served in the Revolution. He represented Amelia County in the House of Delegates, 1785–87 (serving with JM) and 1791–99. He was appointed to the Council of State in 1787 and was a Republican congressman, 1798–1801.

4John Marshall represented the city of Richmond in the House of Delegates, 1789–90 and 1795–98 (ibid., p. 404).

5Charles Lee represented Fairfax County in the House of Delegates, 1793–95 (ibid., p. 397).

6John Mayo, Jr. (1760–1818), was educated at the College of William and Mary and represented Henrico County in the House of Delegates, 1785–86 (with JM) and 1791–96. He was appointed to the Council of State in 1796 (ibid., p. 406; Alexander Brown, The Descendants in Virginia, for Six Generations, of Major William Mayo … [Richmond, 1890], pp. 4, 8; CVSP description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts (11 vols.; Richmond, 1875–93). description ends , 8:401).

7George Keith Taylor (1769–1815) represented Prince George County in the House of Delegates, 1793–1800. A Federalist, he married John Marshall’s sister Jane in 1799 (Johnson, Papers of John Marshall, 2:274 n. 7; Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , p. 435).

8Miles King represented Elizabeth City County for much of the 1780s and 1790s (Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , p. 396).

9The motion discussed by Jones passed by a vote of 100 to 50 (JHDV description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Begun and Held at the Capitol, in the City of Richmond. Volumes in this series are designated by the month in which the session began. description ends , Nov. 1795 [Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … 1639 … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). description ends 31502], p. 27).

10John Taliaferro (b. 1753) was Jones’s nephew by marriage. He may have been the King George County delegate of that name who attended General Assembly sessions, 1778 and 1789–93 (Nell Watson Sherman, comp., Taliaferro-Toliver Family Records [Peoria, Ill., 1961], pp. 34, 37; Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , p. 434).

11Possibly Alexander McRae, who represented Dinwiddie County, 1794–96 (Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , p. 403).

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