James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George Washington, 22 October 1785

From George Washington

Mount Vernon Oct 22nd 1785

Dear Sir

I thank you for the perusal of the enclosed reports—Mr Jay seems to have laboured the point respecting the Convention.1

If any thing should occur that is interesting, & your leizure will permit it, I should be glad to hear from you on the subject.

Printed copy (Stan. V. Henkels Catalogue No. 686, 1892). Letter and enclosures not found. Listed in DLC: Madison Miscellany.

1JM appears either to have left several broadsides and a pamphlet on Franco-American relations and foreign affairs with Washington upon his departure from Mount Vernon on 14 Oct., or to have forwarded them to Washington in a lost letter, ca. 16 Oct. These enclosures would have included Jay’s report “respecting french and american Consuls,” dated 4 July 1785, which was presented to Congress on 6 July (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIX, 500–515). The report was published in New York (Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … 1639 … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). description ends 19319), and indeed Jay’s commentary seemed to have “laboured the point respecting the Convention.” After explaining that the only question to be resolved was “whether Congress ought to ratify this Convention” on the function of consular officials, Jay discoursed at some length on the major points and found certain objectionable variations between the preliminary “Scheme” and the final “Convention.” On the matter of religious worship and funerals, for example, Jay indicated that omission of an understanding was to be regretted because Catholics worshipped freely in the U. S., “yet the protestant religion has no legal Toleration in France. This Omission therefore is a departure from the Line of Reciprocity.”

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