James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from James Monroe, 13 December 1824

From James Monroe

Washington Decr. 13. 1824

Dear Sir

I send you herewith a more correct copy of the message,1 than that which I lately forwarded, & to which I add, a copy of the documents, relating to the negotiations with the British govt., for the suppression of the slave trade.2

You may recollect that one of the items in my acct. for compensation in my last mission to Europe, the 8th., involving the expenses incurr’d in England after my return from Spain, by various causes, and particularly the Special mission, in which I was associated with Mr Pinkney, was suspended by your order, for further consideration, when the acct. was settled. In that state it has remain’d since. I came into the dept. of state soon afterwards, and in consequence deem’d it improper, ever to mention the subject, while you remain’d in office, or to touch it, after your retirement. There are other items in that acct., the settlement of which, I have always thought requird revision. For example, I was not allowed an outfit, in the mission to France, when I left the country, nor untill after my return 7. years afterwards. In my absence, my tract of land above charlottesville, of 950. a[c]res, was sold, to pay neighbourhood debts, which if the outfit had been allowd me, might have been avoided. On a revision of the subject, you, on your own responsibility, kindly allowed me the outfit. All other ministers, were allowd outfits. Interest on the delay appears to be a fair claim & from that time. There are other items in that mission which may merit notice. In the settlement of the acct. for the first mission, I was very seriously injur’d, as I think may be shewn. It is my intention to bring the subject before Congress, with a view, to give the explanations necessary, before my retirment, & to leave them, to be recurr’d to, at another Session, when decided on.3 I have another, and much stronger motive, for inviting the attention of Congress, to a concern, relating to myself. An attempt has been made to injure me in another form, with which, as it has been treated on, in Congress, you are, I presume, somewhat acquainted.4 I cannot withdraw, and leave this unnoticed. I intend to bring both subjects under consideration, with a view to do myself justice, and to protect myself, after I am gone, from malignant aspersion. The attempt referr’d to, was made in the two last Sessions, by a committee in each, or rather under the sanction, of such an appointment, & who, pursued the object, with great industry & system, as well as malignity.

The reception of General La Fayette, by Congress, has corresponded with that given him by the people, throughout the union, and will, I doubt not, have a very happy effect in Europe, as well as in the UStates. With very sincere regard dear Sir yours

James Monroe

RC (DLC).

1Message from the President of the U.S., to Both Houses of Congress, at the Commencement of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress. Dec. 7, 1824 (Washington, 1824; Shoemaker description begins Richard H. Shoemaker, comp., A Checklist of American Imprints for 1820–1829 (11 vols.; New York, 1964–72). description ends 18893).

2Documents Accompanying the Message of the President of the U.S., to Both Houses of Congress, at the Commencement of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress. Dec. 7, 1824 (Washington, 1824; Shoemaker description begins Richard H. Shoemaker, comp., A Checklist of American Imprints for 1820–1829 (11 vols.; New York, 1964–72). description ends 18683). The contents of this pamphlet are published in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61). description ends , Foreign Relations, 5:359–68.

3For the claims Monroe submitted to Congress in January 1825, regarding his two diplomatic missions to Europe, see Lucius Wilmerding Jr., James Monroe: Public Claimant (New Brunswick, N.J., 1960), 53–77.

4In 1822, on the death of Samuel Lane, the commissioner of public buildings and one of Monroe’s friends, it was found that Lane was in arrears to the tune of $20,000 in public monies. Monroe’s finances were also involved, as he was in debt to Lane for a large sum, and the whole matter came under investigation by Congress that same year. In January 1825 Monroe sent a memoir, accompanied by a great number of documents, to a congressional committee in order to clear his name. For a full discussion of this matter, see ibid., 11–25.

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