Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Monroe, 14 October 1793

From James Monroe

Octr. 14 1793

Dear Sir

The fatigue of my late journey and some concerns which require immidiate attention will deprive me of the pleasure of being at Monticello till after the arrival of Mr. Madison which will be on Wednesday—Unless the funeral of his brother should detain him longer, which however is not expected. I send you the Fredbg. paper containing the proceeding there, which terminated in a recommendation to the counties to take the subject up. It commenc’d in an invitation by Jas. Mercer, Man Page and others, the most respectable inhabitants in that part of the State, to the inhabitants of the district to convene for the purpose of discussing some topics of general concern. Edwd. Stevens who was at that time in town with some associates of the same party took the recommendation up, and (he being in the chair) address’d the inhabitants of Culpepper against the meeting—similar efforts were made elsewhere, which together with the short notice given, and the real difficulty in assembling people from parts so distant, prevented a numerous meeting. The majority therefore was with the town and its dependants. This will account for the issue. Those of character, such as Page &ca. withdrew their names from the committee, and Mercer was retained by his seat in the chair only. The weight of the republican characters awed the sects, tories, and their assistants into silence or I believe a most loyal proceeding would have been exhibited to the publick. The resolves I have no copy of but they will be published in the paper. I am affecy. yr. friend & servt

Jas. Monroe

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 14 Oct. 1793 and so recorded in SJL.

James Madison’s brother Ambrose died on 3 Oct. 1793 (Brant, Madison, iii, 385).

The 30 Sep. 1793 invitation by Jas. Mercer, Mann Page, and other Republicans to the “Yeomanry within the Fredericksburg District” to meet in Fredericksburg on 7 Oct. to “take into consideration the present state of American affairs, and to declare their opinions thereon,” appeared in the 3 Oct. 1793 issue of the Virginia Herald, and Fredericksburg Advertiser, next to the proceedings of a 2 Oct. meeting in Fredericksburg of inhabitants of Culpepper chaired by Federalist Edward Stevens. The latter assembly, denouncing the call for a district meeting as “highly improper” because inadequate notice had been given, the theme was too broad and vague, and county meetings were more convenient to the citizenry, called instead for a full meeting of Culpeper County yeomen later in October to consider the Proclamation of Neutrality. Convening on 7–8 Oct., the district meeting tabled a set of Republican motions, accepted a committee report which roundly stated that “there is not the slightest ground” for suspecting the national executive of exercising its authority unconstitutionally and suggested that meetings were needed only to attest to public confidence in the constituted authorities, and ended by recommending that those in attendance promote county meetings “to take into consideration the subjects which agitate the public mind.” The lengthy set of Republican resolves, bypassed by the meeting but subsequently published in Richmond, praised President Washington, emphasized the continuing validity of American treaties with all nations, condemned any assertion that the Proclamation of Neutrality suspended any obligations under the treaty of alliance with France as a dangerous attempt to introduce British theories of executive prerogative, acknowledged that if Edmond Charles Genet’s unconfirmed threat to appeal to the American people was correctly reported it was “truly alarming and reprehensible” but suggested that the motives of those publicizing his misconduct would not bear close scrutiny, and urged that recriminations against the French minister not be allowed to damage the alliance with France (Virginia Gazette, and General Advertiser, 16, 23 Oct. 1793).

Index Entries