James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Edmund Pendleton, 7 April 1789

From Edmund Pendleton

Virga. April the 7th. 1789.

Dr. Sir

Will you Pardon my interrupting for a moment your Attention to the great subjects before you, to ask you how you do, whethr. your Legislative body is Organized, the President & V. P. in Office, and the general complexion of yr. Members? You know how much I esteem yr. Correspondence, & my earnest appetite for News; as I do your kind inclination to gratify me, but I must repeat my Caveat agt. your doing it, when it will interfere either with business, or that necessary recreation, of which I fear you do not take enough for your health. A line in any leisure moment, will be thankfully accepted.

I have nothing to give you from hence, the Papers being occupied by Decius, Anti-Decius & their Auxilaries—but what do you think of I. W’s new Species of Patriotism, that of paying British debts into the Treasury at 1 for 75?1 This is a bold stride to annex that sacred Character, to what had hitherto been only attempted to be Palliated.

Our Elections are commencing & seem to be as warmly canvassed, as if there were loaves & fishes to be distributed, & the feast to continue for seven years. Alas! “what havock does Ambition make amongst mankind.” Of wch., as far as I know myself, I have None but that of being esteemed by the great and good of my acquaintance, which will always induce me to be wth. sincere regard, Dear Sir Yr. mo. Affe. & Obt. Servt.

Edmd Pendleton

My Complts. to all my representatives who care for me.

RC (PHC). Docketed by JM.

1Pendleton referred to the item by “I. W.” (John White?) in the Va. Independent Chronicle of 25 Mar. 1789. “Decius” had criticized Virginians who had taken advantage of the sequestration act of 1777 to pay off their British debts in Virginia’s paper currency. “I. W.” replied that these payments were a patriotic act because they supported the credit of the state’s paper money during the war (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 , IX, 377–80; Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (19 vols. to date; Princeton, 1950—). description ends , XVI, 144).

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