Thomas Jefferson Papers
Documents filtered by: Author="Madison, James" AND Recipient="Jefferson, Thomas" AND Recipient="Jefferson, Thomas" AND Period="Madison Presidency"
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James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, [9 March 1812]

From James Madison

[9 Mar. 1812]

Dear Sir

As the Intelligencer will not publish the Message & documents just laid before Congs for the present Mail, I send you a copy of the former. It is justified by the Documents, among which are the original credential & instructions1 from the Govr of Canada, and an original dispatch from the Earl of Liverpool to him approving the conduct of the Secret Agent. This discovery, or rather formal proof of the Co-operation between the Eastern Junto, & the B. Cabinet will, it is to be hoped, not only prevent future evils from that source, but extract good out of the past.

RC (DLC: Madison Papers, Rives Collection); signature and dateline clipped; at foot of text: “Mr Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 9 Mar. 1812 received 11 Mar. 1812 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Madison to United States Congress, 9 Mar. 1812, transmitting documents showing that, during a period when the United States was observing peaceful neutrality toward Great Britain and the British minister was making amicable professions during negotiations here, that nation had employed a secret agent at Boston to foment disaffection and resistance to the law and prepare the way for a British invasion to destroy the Union and bring New England into a political connection with Britain; and concluding that in addition to its effect on the public councils, this discovery should render the Union even dearer to its citizens (Tr in same, in the hand of Edward Coles; printed in Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 29 vols.: Congress. Ser., 17 vols.; Pres. Ser., 5 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 7 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 4:235–6, and other texts described there).

The documents that accompanied Madison’s message, published in the Washington National Intelligencer on 10 Mar. 1812 and reprinted as a Message from the President of the United States, transmitting Copies of Certain Documents obtained from a Secret Agent of the British Government, employed in Fomenting Disaffection to the Constituted Authorities, and In Bringing About Resistance to the Laws; and eventually, in Concert with a British Force, to Destroy the Union of the United States (Washington, 1812), and again in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Foreign Relations, 3:545–54, dated from 1809–12 and purported to show that John Henry, a former officer in the United States Army, had received instructions from the govr of canada, Sir James Craig, and approval from Robert Jenkinson, the earl of liverpool, for a secret mission to ascertain whether some northeastern states might secede from the Union in the event of an Anglo-American war. Madison and Secretary of State James Monroe negotiated the purchase of the pertinent papers from Henry for $50,000 and passage to France on an American warship (Samuel Eliot Morison, “The Henry-Crillon Affair of 1812,” Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 69 [1947/50]: 207–31; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 29 vols.: Congress. Ser., 17 vols.; Pres. Ser., 5 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 7 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 4:117n).

1Manuscript: “intructions.”

Index Entries

  • Canada; and J. Henry’s mission search
  • Coles, Edward; as J. Madison’s secretary search
  • Congress, U.S.; J. Madison’s messages to search
  • Craig, Sir James; governor general of Canada search
  • Federalist party; opposes J. Madison search
  • Great Britain; and J. Henry’s mission search
  • Henry, John; mission of search
  • Liverpool, Robert Jenkinson, 2d Earl of; and J. Henry’s mission search
  • Madison, James; and E. Coles search
  • Madison, James; and J. Henry’s mission search
  • Madison, James; Federalist opposition to search
  • Madison, James; letters from search
  • Madison, James; messages to Congress search
  • Monroe, James; and J. Henry’s mission search
  • National Intelligencer (Washington newspaper); prints J. Madison’s annual messages search