James Madison Papers

From James Madison to James Monroe, 11 December 1784

To James Monroe

Richd. Decr. 11. 1784

Dear Sir

Neither of the two last posts brought me a line from you. I find one in the office for Mr. Jones who is absent on a visit to King George.1 I expect him back on Monday next. Our proceedings throughout this week have turned chiefly on the bill for assize Courts, which yesterday passed the H. of D. after a faint opposition and with very few dissenting voices. It is formed pretty much on the pattern of the English establishment. The disposition of the Senate towards the bill is not yet certainly known but is presumed to be not unfavorable. Present my compliments to Mr. Mercer. I intended to have dropped him a line by this post, but am too much abridged in time. You will be so good as to mention to him the progress of the Assize bill which if I do not forget his sentiments, will give him pleasure. With much respect I am Dr. Sir Yrs. sincerely

J. Madison Jr.

There are a number of letters in the post office here for Mr. Jefferson, from different quarters. Ought they to be sent to Europe or to His Steward?

I find that the letters of Mr. Mazzei covered to you by the last post, did not pay the postage here as I signified.2 I sent the money for the purpose with the packet, but the Post-Master refused to take it, alledging its address to a Member of Congs. and the post went off before I could make the explanations. If you think it worth while you can settle the matter with the Post office at Trenton, & let me know the amount.

RC (DLC). Cover missing.

1JM and Monroe apparently had an agreement to send each other a weekly letter summarizing local news. Monroe’s letter of 15 Nov. reached JM on 18 Nov. There is no record of any Monroe letters having gone astray, but Monroe seems to have assumed that a letter to his uncle, Joseph Jones, would be read by JM.

2Mazzei had sent letters to JM to be forwarded on the New York stage that left Richmond on Saturdays. JM was concerned about the cost of forwarding Mazzei’s mail since the Richmond postmaster had ruled that inasmuch as the packet was addressed to a member of Congress it should pass through his office post-free (Wesley Everett Rich, The History of the United States Post Office to the Year 1829 [Cambridge, Mass., 1924], p. 50). JM assumed that the Trenton postmaster would not be as accommodating, and he was too conscientious to use the franking privilege for his Italian friend’s personal mail. James Hayes (1759–1804) was postmaster at Richmond.

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