James Madison Papers

From James Madison to James Monroe, [ca. 20 November] 1784

To James Monroe

Richmond [ca. 20] Novr. 17841

Dear Sir

Your favor without date was brought by thursday’s post. It inclosed a Cypher for which I thank you & which I shall make use as occasion may require, though from the nature of our respective situations, its chief value will be derived from your use of it.2 Gel. Washington arrived here on Sunday last, and the Marquis on thursday. The latter came from Boston in a French frigate. They have both been addressed & entertained in the best manner that circumstances would admit. These attentions and the balloting for public offices have consumed the greatest part of the past week. Mr. Jones is put into the place of Mr. Short. Mr. Roan[e] and Mr. M. Selden are to go into those of Mr. M. Smith & Col. Christian who are the victims to that part of the Constitution which directs a triennial purgation of the Council. The vote is not to take effect till the Spring, but was made now in consequence of the discontinuance of the Spring Session.3 The rejected Candidates were Col: Bland, Cys. Griffin, G. Webb, W. C. Nicholas, Mr. Brackenridge, Col: Carrington. The latter was within one vote of Mr. Selden. Col: B. Mr. N. & Mr. B. had as nearly as I recollect between 20 & 30 votes. Mr. G. & Mr. W. very few. Mr. H. Innes late Judge of the Kentucky Court is to succeed W. D. late Attorney General in that District.4 His competitor was Mr. Stewart who was about 15 votes behind.5 I am Dr. Sir Yrs. sincerely

J. Madison Jr.

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM. Addressed to Monroe “in Congress.”

1On his calendar of correspondence with Monroe, JM failed to enter the date of this letter, but it obviously was written on Saturday or Sunday, when JM habitually caught up on his correspondence.

2Why JM alludes to Monroe’s letter of 7 Nov. as undated is unexplainable. That letter enclosed the 99-word code which JM mentions in the next sentence.

3At its May 1784 session the General Assembly passed an act eliminating the “Spring Session” by providing for one meeting to begin “on the third Monday in October annually” (Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , XI, 388).

4Harry Innes was chosen to replace “W. D.”—Walker Daniel—who had been killed by the Indians in Aug. 1784 (Executive Letter Book description begins Executive Letter Book, 1783–1786, manuscript in Virginia State Library. description ends , p. 413; Abernethy, Western Lands and the American Revolution, p. 301).

5The journal does not indicate who the other nominees for the Kentucky post were, but Archibald Stuart appears to have been in contention (JHDV description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg. Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond. In the County of Henrico. The journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used is the one in which the journals for 1777–1786 are brought together in two volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in either 1827 or 1828 and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , Oct. 1784, p. 27).

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