James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Henry Lee, 12 February 1792

To Henry Lee

Philada. Feby. 12th. 92

My Dear Sir

I have your favor of the 29th Ultmo. The Senate have disagreed to that part of the Military Bill which augmented the regular establishment to about 5000 Men—and will probably send it back with that alteration. They prefer a completion only of the old Regiments & a liberal provision for temporary forces. Nothing has passed from which I can conjecture in the most remote degree whether you may have to decide the point on which I consulted you. It was as I observed to you a mere contingency suggested by my own reflections, and so continues. The moment I discover what is meant to be done on that Subject, whether correspondent with my own ideas or not, I shall drop you notice as you desire.

With respect to the light in which an exchange of stations might be regarded within the State, it is not possible for me to judge so well as others. I feel the delicacy involved in your contemplation of the subject. Perhaps this may be one of the cases in which your own feelings will be the best Counsellor.

The papers herewith inclosed will give you the current information both foreign and domestic. Cornwallis and Tippoo cut the principal figure in those of latest date. The situation of the former is more problematical than it was a few months before the Seige of York. An assumption of the State debts is reported and printed for the Members.1 The motive of State interest in its favor, it appears can be felt only by about ⅓ of the house—and yet I shall not be much surprised if the Measure be carried. Adieu yrs affly

Js Madison

Tr (DLC).

1Hamilton’s 23 Jan. 1792 report on the public debt included the assumed state debts (Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (26 vols.; New York, 1961–79). description ends , X, 537–55). The secretary estimated that $4,427,665 of the state debts was still outstanding, owing in part to the “Ignorance of, or inattention to the limitation of time for receiving subscriptions” (ibid., X, 542). Hamilton recommended that “the time limit of September 30, 1791, be extended and the assumption broadened to include all remaining state debts” (Ferguson, Power of the Purse, p. 330).

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