James Madison Papers

From James Madison to James Monroe, 11 February 1787

To James Monroe

New York Feby. 11. 1787

Dear Sir

I got to this place two days ago after a very tedious journey. I had the pleasure to find the family with which you are connected well, but full of complaints agst. your epistolary failures. I became your apologist as far as I could, but have agreed to give you up if you do not give future proofs of repentance & amendment.

I have already intimated to you the urgency of Mazzei on the subject of his protested bills, and asked for information as to the steps taken by you in his behalf, and your advice as to the further steps proper to be taken. Dorman is here still, and of course I shall have an opportunity of serving our friend as far as the case will admit.1 Let me hear from you pray as quickly as possible. Let me have your commands also as to the ballance I owe you.2 It is ready & will remain so till you direct its appropriation.

Having not yet taken my seat in Congress and had but little conversation with the members, I have nothing to communicate on the state of business before them. A congress has been made up but a few days only. After some contest between the friends of Mr. Blount & Genl. Sinclair, the latter was put into the chair.3 The inclosed paper will give you the latest intelligence from Massts.4 Our friend Grayson remains nearly in status quo. He is a valetudinarian without being sick, and unhappy without knowing why. Give my best respects to Mrs. Monroe. I regretted much when at Fredricksbg that I should be so near without seeing you both, but it was impossible without a culpable delay & wd. have been otherwise inconvenient. Adieu: Yrs affecy.

Js. Madison Jr

RC (DLC). Addressed and franked by JM. Enclosure not found.

1See Mazzei to JM, 14 Aug. 1786 and n. 3, for Arnold Dohrman’s debt to Mazzei.

2JM still owed Monroe $137.50 (JM to Monroe, 21 Dec. 1786).

3Before a quorum of Congress finally met on 17 Jan., William Blount expected to be elected president; his name appears to have been rumored about New York as a likely choice (Blount to John Gray Blount, 7 and 10 Jan. 1787; Blount to Gov. Richard Caswell, 12 Jan. 1787; William Pierce to William[?] Washington, 14 Jan. 1787, Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , VIII, 527, 528, 529, 530). However, when Congress met on that one day and “an attempt for a president was made, there seem’d a Division in Sentiment.… Two Votes … was as many as any Gentleman could boast” (Stephen Mix Mitchell to Jeremiah Wadsworth, 24 Jan. 1787, ibid., VIII, 531). Blount reported to Governor Caswell on 28 Jan. that he was totally mystified by the business and that “the ostensible Objection raised by the Yankees against a Delegate from No. Carolina being put in the Chair is that that state is about to make some antifederal appropriation of her Tobacco” (ibid., VIII, 532).

Congress reassembled on 2 Feb. and elected Arthur St. Clair president. A quorum was maintained through 5 Feb. and then not again until 12 Feb., when JM presented his credentials (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXXII, 11, 29, and passim).

4The “inclosed paper” may have been the N. Y. Journal, and Weekly Register of 8 Feb. 1787, which printed a column headed “Rebellion in Massachusetts” containing extracts of various letters, orders, and accounts of the Shays insurrection.

Index Entries