Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 11 August 1793

From James Madison

Augst. 11. 93

Dear Sir

Yours of Aug: 3. has just come to hand. All the preceding have been acknowledged. I am extremely mortified in looking for the Key to the Cypher, to find that I left it in Philada. You must therefore repeat any thing that may be of use still to be known, particularly any thing that may relate to the time of your leaving Phila. which I wish to know as long as possible before it takes place. The task on which you have put me, must be abridged so as not to go beyond that period. You will see that the first topic is not yet compleated. I hope the 2d. and 3. to wit the meaning of the Treaty and the obligations of gratitude will be less essential. The former is particularly delicate; and tho’ I think it may be put in a light that would reflect ignominy on the author of P. yet I had rather not meddle with the subject if it could be avoided. I can not say when I shall be able to take up those two parts of the job. Just as I was embarking on the general subject I received from the reputed Author of Franklyn a large pamphlet written by him against the fiscal system, particularly the Bank; which I could not but attend to. It is put on a footing that requires me to communicate personally with Monroe, whom I ought to have seen before this, as the publication of the work is to be contrived for the Author. It really has merit always for its ingenuity generally for its solidity, and is enriched with many fine strokes of imagination, and a continued vein of pleasantry and keen satire, that will sting deeply.1 I have received a letter from the Author wishing to hear from me. I must therefore take a ride as far as Charlottesville as soon as I make out the next packet for you, and suspend the residue of the business till I return. I shall endeavor in my absence2 to fulfil a promise to Wilson Nicholas which will lengthen the suspension. I forward to F____3 a copy of the little thing of Ld. Ch: the last sentence is struck out as not necessary, and which may perhaps wound too indiscriminately certain characters, not at present interested in supporting public corruptions. The drouth has done irreparable injury to the Corn in many parts of the Country. It has been interrupted within a few days past, by a pretty extensive rain. We shared in it here but scantily. I understand that at Charlottesville which had been favored with several preceding ones, it was plentiful. Be good eno’ to contrive an excuse to Mr. R. at Monto: for my not forwarding the Gazettes latterly: if you have not already thought of it. I know not how to apologize myself—and shall feel some awkwardness, as I shall not carry them when I go into his neighborhood.

[On separate sheet:]

The paper for J. F. could not otherwise get to him than with your aid. You must therefore take the trouble of having it handed into the post office whence the penny post will take it, unless you can do it at some shorter hand. I wish you to look over what is said critically, and if you think there be any thing of importance wrong, or that may do more harm than good, that you will either erase it, where that will not break the sense, or arrest the whole till I can make the correction. Delay I know is bad; but vulnerable parts that would be siezed for victories and triumphs would be worse. I beg you also to attend particularly to three passages slightly marked with a pencil, the first, the declaration of the principles and sentiments of the author—2d. begining with “Writers such as Locke and Montesqeue”4 &c—to the pencil mark in the ¶. 3 the quotation from the Federalist. If you think the first had better be omitted it can come out without leaving the least gap—so can the 2d. My doubts as to that proceed from the danger of turning the controversy too much into the wilderness of Books. I use Montesqeue also from memory, tho I believe without inaccuracy. The 3d. can also come out without affecting the peice, and I wish you to erase it if you think the most scrupulous delicacy, conjecturing the author, could disapprove it. One No. more or 2 short Nos. will close the first topic and supersede the last. They will be sent as soon as finished and copied. These would have been sent somewhat sooner, but for the delay caused by the last circumstance.

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); unsigned; endorsed by TJ as received 17 Aug. 1793 and so recorded in SJL; filed with undated continuation on separate sheet, probably a wrapper for first two “Helvidius” essays, both parts possibly having been dispatched on 12 Aug. 1793 (see Madison to TJ, 20 Aug. 1793). Enclosures: (1) Drafts of Madison’s first two “Helvidius” essays refuting the defense of the Proclamation of Neutrality by “Pacificus” (printed in 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, 80–7). (2) [Madison] to John Fenno, consisting of undated covering letter to first enclosure (same, 73n). Other enclosure discussed below.

John Taylor of Caroline was the reputed author of six essays which appeared under the pseudonym “Franklin” in the National Gazette between 16 Feb. and 20 Mch. 1793. The pieces accused the Secretary of the Treasury of shady financial practices perpetrated with the aim of subverting the Constitution and replacing a republican with a monarchical government. The large pamphlet was a draft of An Enquiry into the Principles and Tendency of certain Public Measures (Philadelphia, 1794), an anonymously-issued work in which Taylor again warned of the corrupting and antirepublican tendencies of Hamilton’s Fiscal System (Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 3175; Shalhope, Taylor description begins Robert E. Shalhope, John Taylor of Caroline: Pastoral Republican, Columbia, S.C., 1980 description ends , 218, 219). Taylor’s letters to Madison enclosing the draft and wishing to hear from me are dated 20 June and 5 Aug. 1793 (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, 34–6, 52). The draft subsequently went to TJ, who helped to edit it (James Monroe to TJ, 21 Aug. 1793; TJ to Madison, 1, 8 Sep. 1793).

The copy of the little thing intended for Philip Freneau, editor of the National Gazette—an extract from a 22 Nov. 1770 speech in the House of Lords by William Pitt, Earl of Chatham—has not been found, but apparently TJ and Madison had already exchanged a text which TJ evidently made at some point and which included the last sentence that Madison struck out. This fuller extract reads: “There is a set of men, my Lords, in the city of London, who are known to live in riot and Luxury, upon the plunder of the ignorant, the innocent and the helpless, upon that part of the community, which stands most in need of, and best deserves the care and protection of the legislature. To me, my Lords, whether they be miserable jobbers of Change-alley, or the lofty Asiatic plunderers of Leaden-Hall street, they are equally detestable. I care but little whether a man walks on foot, or is drawn by eight horses, or six horses; if his luxury be supported by the plunder of his country, I despise and abhor him. My Lords, while I had the honour of serving his Majesty, I never ventured to look at the treasury, but from a distance; it is a business I am unfit for, and to which I never could have submitted. The little I know of it, has not served to raise my opinion of what is vulgarly called the monied interest: I mean that bloodsucker, that muckworm, which calls itself the friend of government, which pretends to serve this or that administration, and may be purchased on the same terms by any administration. Under this description I include the whole race of commissaries, jobbers, contractors, clothiers and remitters” (Tr in DLC: Madison Papers, undated, almost certainly in TJ’s disguised hand, with “Extract from Ld. Chatham’s Speech in the debate on the Falkland’s Islands” at head of text; PrC in DLC: TJ Papers, 91: 15631). See also TJ to Madison, 18 Aug. 1793; and [William Cobbett, ed.], The Parliamentary History of England, from the earliest period to the year 1803, 36 vols. [London, 1806–20], xvi, 1091–1108, esp. 1106–7).

J. F.: John Fenno, editor of the Gazette of the United States. TJ must have decided against deleting any of the three passages slightly marked with a pencil, since they are all in the first “Helvidius” essay as it appeared in the Gazette of the United States on 24 and 28 Aug. 1793 (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, 66–7, 68, 72–3).

1Madison here canceled “I must set out if possible.”

2Preceding three words interlined.

3Rule partly written over “kln.”

4Closing quotation mark supplied.

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