James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Adam Stephen, 3 March 1790

From Adam Stephen

Martinburg 3d March 1790

Dr Sir,

We were Sorry to hear of your being taken ill at George Town, but rejoiced to see you Correcting the Schedule of the Census at New york.

Mr Hamilton has discoverd great extent of Comprehension in his Report. He with great facility develops and simplifies the most Complicated Subjects. The funding the debts of the Individual States with the Others, is a masterly Stroke of Policy, and will establishe The Federal Government in the Hearts of the People. The Resources of the Nation stand more Clear, to be adapted to General purposes, as the Excegencies of Govermt may require. Reflecting on the feeble Attempts of the different States to establish a Revenue, and observing them repealing or Altering the Laws every Session, and giving so great advantage to Sheriff or Collector to prey upon the Poor, makes me in Some Measure apply to Hamilton what Mr Pope did to the Immortal Newton—

Resources and Revenue Laws lay hid in Night

’Twas said Let Hamilton be! and all was right.

The Report has already advanced the Credit of the Nation, and It is the general Wish of the people within my Circle, that it may be adopted.

The expostulations of Potowmack will make their appearance, after the Treasury and Militia Business is finishd.1 Extract “are we to be told says Mr Sedgewick that a Respectable State would not have adopted the Constitution, had they known the proceedings of this House to day.”2 Are Mr Sedgwicks Organs of hearing so delicate, that they cannot bear being impressd with the truth? If the Language displeases; remove the Cause, and the Effects will cease: Let mutual Attention and Concessions take place, Civilities will follow, and matters of Government will go on Smoothly and with Ease. I am with great Esteem Yours most Sinc[e]rely

Adam Stephen

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Stephen enclosed a copy of his broadside, The Expostulations of Potowmac … ([Martinsburg, Va.?, 1790]; Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … 1639 … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). Roger P. Bristol, ed., Supplement to Charles Evans’ American Bibliography (Charlottesville, Va., 1970). description ends 22076), in his letter to JM of 25 Apr.

2Stephen was paraphrasing Sedgwick’s response to JM’s speech of 3 Sept. 1789 (PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77; vols. 11—, Charlottesville, Va., 1977—). description ends , XII, 372).

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