James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Alexander White, 7 April 1794

From Alexander White

Woodville 7th April 1794

Dear Sir

When I consider the momentous struggle in which you are acting—I feel a reluctance to intrude, and yet cannot avoid expressing my regret that I had no intelligence from you by last Post. Public Prints however informed me of two important facts which had not before been fully authenticated the resolution of Congress for laying an Embargo, and the British Kings instructions rescinding those of 6h. Novr. 1793. What effect will the latter have on the minds and measures of Congress—they bear the appearance of relaxation, but if all the French West India Ports should be declared blockaded (and I think this not improbable) what real advantage will accrue to America from the change of System?

You will have the pleasure of hearing from General Scott1 that the Genêtites of Kentucky have not been able to raise a man Officers excepted; if we can escape a European War, we shall yet go on well. Is the piece published as Lord Dorchesters Speech to the Indians2 believed to be genuine? The last few weeks have been generally dry. For some days past it has been cold with frost, but the fruit has yet escaped. Grain in strong fresh ground looks well, but that in old or thin land is much injured by the winter. Our election took place on Tuesday. The Poll stood for Mat: Page 384. Archd Magill 285 Jas. Singleton 211—Wm. McGuire 164—Robt Page 162—Thomas Bush 153—Number of Voters 679. Our Post now goes weekly, I am Sir Yours sincerely

Alexr White

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1In the week before White wrote this letter, Maj. Gen. Charles Scott, commander of Kentucky mounted militia, passed through Winchester on his way to Philadelphia for consultations with the secretary of war (Philadelphia General Advertiser, 15 Apr. 1794; Knopf, Anthony Wayne, p. 328). For a discussion of the steps taken by Kentucky and federal authorities to stop George Rogers Clark’s filibuster, see Thomas, American Neutrality in 1793, pp. 185–86.

2In the “Reply of His Excellency Lord Dorchester, to the Indians of the Seven Villages of Lower Canada …” of 10 Feb. 1794, the governor of Canada claimed that the U.S. had violated the Treaty of Paris of 1783, “and as they kept it not on their part, it doth not bind on ours.” Since American settlers had encroached on the territory disputed between Canada and the U.S., Dorchester stated that “I shall not be surprised if we are at war with them in the course of the present year” (Philadelphia Gazette, 26 Mar. 1794).

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