From James Madison
Augst. 24. 1797
The inclosed letter for Mr. B. came to my hands last week; but not till the opportunity by the then mail was lost. I hear nothing of Monroe but thro’ the Newspapers containing his correspondence with Pickering. As that appears to have been closed on the 31st. of last month, I am in hourly expectation of seeing him. I am also without any late information with respect to the progress of the Committee on Blount’s and Liston’s Conspiracy. Dawson wrote me some time ago “that they were going on well, and that he had well grounded reasons, which he could not communicate by letter, to say, that they should bring in some large fish.” It is much to be wished none of this description may escape; tho’ to be feared that they will be most likely to do so. Mrs. M. offers her respects to the ladies, and joins in my inclinations to visit Monticello; but I am so compleatly plunged into necessary occupations of several kinds, that I can[not] positively decide that we shall have that pleasure. Yrs affecly.
Js. Madison Jr
RC (DLC: Madison Papers); with last digit of date apparently later misinterpreted as “1” and emended first to “4” and then to “5”; word in brackets supplied by Editors, remainder of sentence, closing, and signature written in margin; addressed: “[Tho]mas Jefferson Vice President of the United States Monticello”; franked; endorsed by TJ as received 25 Aug. 1797 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found, but probably John Bringhurst (see Madison to TJ, 2 Aug. 1797).
On 4 Aug. the Philadelphia Aurora published Monroe’s correspondence with Timothy Pickering from 6 to 31 July 1797 regarding his recall as minister to France. For a discussion of the controversy, see the following document. I am in hourly expectation of seeing him: Monroe arrived at Montpelier about 30 Aug. (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– , 26 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 4 vols. description ends , xvii, p. xxvii).
Dawson wrote me some time ago: see John Dawson to Madison, 27 July 1797, in same, 32. Dawson, the Virginia Republican who was elected to fill Madison’s seat in Congress upon his retirement, was a member of the House committee meeting over the summer to collect evidence and bring in articles of impeachment against William Blount. In a letter to Madison of 13 Aug. 1797, Dawson stated that he believed the committee would be able to show the “criminality” of British minister Robert Liston and the “partiality” of Secretary of State Pickering in his efforts to protect Liston from implication in the conspiracy. During the first week in September, Dawson again wrote Madison noting that the result of the committee’s enquiries would be “a bitter pill to the British minister, our Secretary of state and their faction” (same, 41–5).