James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Monroe, 11 February 1786

From James Monroe

New York Feby. 11. 1786

Dear Sir

In my last I mention’d to you, the subject of the impost was reviv’d & that a report of a Committee had given place to a motion of Mr. Pinckney, the latter being still before the house. The report, and motion with a report from the Bd. of treasury to the same effect have since been committed, in which State the business now lies. I inclose you a paper containing the report.1 It is doubted whether in any event this State will adopt it. Those members elected in opposition to such as were turn’d out, for their opposition to the measure, have I hear imbib’d their sentiments & act under them. They are it is said possess’d to great amount (I mean the leaders of the party) of publick securities, and doubtful of their payment by federal exertion, seem inclin’d to pursue the course Pena. latterly did & provide for it, by establishing State funds.2 The more extensive the funds of the State, & the more fully they exclude the citizens of other States & foreigners from such provision, the better of course for the party. I am sincerely yr. friend & servant

Jas. Monroe

If you visit this place shortly I will present you to a young lady who will be adopted a citizen of Virga. in the course of this week.3

RC (DLC). Cover missing. Docketed in an unknown hand. The enclosure has not been found.

1The report from the Board of Treasury was presented on 8 Feb. See Monroe to JM, 9 Feb. 1786.

2Pennsylvania began issuing certificates of interest in 1783 and in 1786 began assuming continental securities and issuing state securities in their place. New York followed Pennsylvania’s example in Feb. 1786. All the continental debt paper was to be exchanged for state notes. Both state schemes appeared to involve speculative interests. With Congress unable to pay its debts, public creditors derived greater benefits when their securities were incorporated into state schemes for debt redemption (Ferguson, Power of the Purse, pp. 221–22, 228–32).

3Monroe’s oblique allusion is to his fiancée, Elizabeth Kortright, daughter of Laurence Kortright, a New York merchant who specialized in the West Indian trade. She and Monroe were married on 16 Feb. 1786 (Amnion, James Monroe, p. 61).

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