Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 29 February 1796

From James Madison

Philada. Feby. 29. 1796

Dear Sir

The Treaty with Spain arrived on Tuesday last. It adjusts both the boundary and navigation in a very satisfactory manner. I have not yet been able to decide whether, on the latter point it clashes or not with the British Treaty; the article being differently represented by different members of the Senate. Nor am I able to say whether any of the articles come within the objections to the constitutionality of the British Treaty. In what relates to contraband and other points in the law of Nations, I understand it presents an honorable contrast to Jay’s stipulations. The Algerine Treaty has some curious features. Among other’s, the sum of one Million paid for the ransom and the peace, does not appear before the Senate, as any part of the Treaty; but has been paid as a verbal part of the Contract, under the authority of the law of appropriation: So that the most material part of the Treaty has been made by the President and the Legislature, without the Treaty-Agency of the Senate. The British Treaty as finally ratified has been republished in the newspapers from foreign copies, but is Still not laid before Congress.

The President’s birthday has been celebrated with unexampled splendor. The crisis explains the policy of this. It is remarkable however that the annual motion to adjourn for half an hour to pay the compliment of the day, was rejected this year by 50 vs. 38. altho’ last year on the yeas and nays 13 only voted in the negative.

Nothing from abroad. Bringhurst is making enquiry as to Sharpless. Mr. Rittenhouse the same as to the Kitchen Stoves. Adieu

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); unsigned; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Mch. 1796 and so recorded in SJL.

On Monday, 22 Feb. 1796, the State Department received the treaty with Spain signed by Thomas Pinckney at San Lorenzo on 27 Oct. 1795. The pact dealt with the navigation of the Mississippi and right of deposit at New Orleans, the boundary with Spanish Louisiana and the Floridas, and commercial arrangements between the two countries. President Washington submitted the treaty to the Senate four days after its arrival, and it was ratified on 3 Mch. 1796 (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828 description ends , i, 200, 203; Miller, Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and other International Acts of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., 1931–48, 8 vols. description ends , ii, 318–38).

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