Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 5 August 1793

From James Madison

Augst. 51 93

At the date of my last which was on thursday last, yours of the 14. had not arrived. I have since received it. That of the 28th. is also just handed me. A review of mine will shew you that all yours from June 23 forward have now been acknowledged. Your account of the ticklish situation with respect to Genet in the 14th. is truly distressing. His folly would almost beget suspicions of the worst sort. The consequences you point out in case matters come to an extremity are so certain and obvious2 that it is hardly conceivable he can be blind to them. Something must be done if possible to get him into a better train. I find by the paper of the 27. that P. has entered and I suppose closed his last topic. I think it a feeble defence of one important point I am striking at: viz. the making a declaration in his sense of it, before the arrival of Genet. I argue that the Act does not import a decision against the Casus foederis from the manifest impropriety of doing so on the ground that F. was the aggressor in every war, without at least3 waiting for evidence as to the question of fact who made the first attack admiting for the sake of argument that to be the criterion. A difficulty has occurred which will retard my remarks more than I expected. They must be prepared for the same Gazette, consequently copied into another hand. I am laying a plan for having it done here, but it cannot be done as quickly as I wish. The drouth begins to be severe and alarming for the corn. In a hurry yrs. always

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); unsigned; endorsed by TJ as received 13 Aug. 1793 and so recorded in SJL.

Thursday last was 1 Aug. 1793, a date for which no letter has been found to TJ from Madison, who was probably alluding to his letter of 30 July 1793. F.: France. On 27 July 1793 Alexander Hamilton’s seventh and last “Pacificus” essay defending the Proclamation of Neutrality appeared in the Gazette of the United States, the same Gazette which on 24 Aug. began printing the responses Madison penned as “Helvidius” (Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , xv, 130–5; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962-, 21 vols. description ends , xv, 66–73).

1Digit reworked from “6.”

2Preceding two words interlined.

3Preceding two words interlined.

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