James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 16 November 1794

To Thomas Jefferson

Philada. Novr. 16. 1794.

Dear Sir

I have recd. your two favors of Ocr. 30 & Novr. 6, the former not in time to be answered on Monday last. Mazzei’s claim on Dorhman is £2000 N. Y. Currency, with interest at 7 per Ct. from Novr. 1788. It is secured by a Deed of Trust empowering me to sell a tract of land granted to Mr. D. by an Act of Congress of Octr. 1. 1787. (see Journals of that date). Mr. Randolph thinks that a Court of Equity would not interfere with a summary execution of the trust. I hear nothing from Dorhman; nor can even say whether he is still in N. York. I have mentioned to Mr. R. the books and he has promised to let me have them. Judge Wilson is on the Southn. Circuit, and I suppose the volumes in his hands can not be got till he returns. I will however make the trial. The gentleman by whom they are to be sent to you has not yet made his appearance.

The Senate having not yet a Quorum I cannot send you the P.’s Speech. You will have seen by the papers that the Western Scene is closed. H. is still with the army. You will perceive his colouring on all the documents which have been published during his Mentorship to the commander in cheif.1 When I first arrived here the conversation ran high for a standing army to enforce the laws. It is said the Militia will all return with the same doctrine in their mouths. I have no doubt that such an innovation will be attempted in earnest during the session, if circumstances should be favorable. It is probable however that the P. will not embark in the measure; and that the fear of alarming N. England will be another obstacle.

The elections for the next Congs.2 are generally over except in Virginia & N. Carola. & N. York. In N. Hampshire the choice is much the same. In Masshts. there has been a violent contest in most of the districts. All that will probably be gained is a spirit of enquiry & competition in that quarter. Ames is re-elected after the most unparall[el]ed exertions & calumnies in his favor, and according to report by the addl. aid of bad votes.3 Dexter is to run a second heat but will probably succeed.4 Sedgwick’s fate is not known. The chance is said to be in his favor; but it is agreed that he will be well sweated. As he has not yet appeared, he is probably nursing his declining popularity during the crisis. From N. Y. we are promised at least half of the new representatives for the republican scale.5 N. Jersey has lost old Clarke who will no doubt be replaced by a successor of other sentiments. In this State, the election, notwithstanding its inauspicious circumstances, is more republican than the last. Nine at least out of thirteen are counted on the right side; among them Swanwick in the room of Fitzimmons, a stunning change for the aristocracy.6 Maryland pretty much as heretofore.7 I shd. have first noted that in Delaware Patten the Republican ex-member, is chosen by a large Majority.8 The representation of Maryland will vary little from the present. In S. C. Smith has been carryed by the British merchants in Charleston & their d[e]btors in the Country, in spite of the Rutledges & Pinkney’s who set up agst. him Jno. Rutlege jur. Tucker was also a candidate. Smith had a majority of all the votes. In general the changes also in that State will be for the worse. The death of Gillon has made way for Barnwell if he chuses to step in. Hunter also is out; but it is said his successor (a Mr. Harper) will be a valuable acquisition, being sound able & eloquent.9 The prospects for the Senate are—the reelection of Langdon for N. H. The election of Payne, an incognitum, in place of Bradley for Vermont who appears to have been out of favor with both parties—the reelection of King in N. Y. owing to the death of 2 Repubn. members of the State Legislature—the chance of a Republican successor to R Morris, said to be a good one; a like chance in Delaware. In Maryland the Chance is bad, but nothing worse than the present delegation is to [be] apprehended. Potts has resigned, & Henry it is supposed will either withdraw or be rejected.10 The event in Virga. you will know. The information from N. C. is not decisive, but favorable; the same as to S. C. Izard has relinquished his pretensions. In Georgia the question lies between Gun & Telfair. The former it is thought will be rechosen.

I must refer to Newspapers which I suppose you occasionally see from Richd. for the posture of things in Europe. In general they are extremely favorable to F. and alarming to all the Sovereigns of Europe. England seems still bent notwithstanding, on the war. She is now to subsidize the Emperor as well as the K. of Prussia. Accordg. to the intelligence handed to the public it would seem that the humiliating memorial of Jay inspires less contempt, than the French victories do terror, and that the tone towards this Country will be much changed. It is even intimated that satisfactory arrangements will be made on most, if not all the points in question. Not a line official or private from Monroe. His enthusiastic reception you will have seen.

Prices here are very different from those you mention. Wheat at 12/– Corn 6/6. Beef at 8d. & other things in proportion. House Rent 50 PerCt. higher than last Winter. Mrs. M. offers her best returns to you. Always & affecy. Yours

Js. Madison

RC (DLC). Franked and addressed by JM to Jefferson at Monticello. Docketed by Jefferson, “recd. Dec. 2.”

1Hamilton accompanied Washington when the president left Philadelphia on 30 Sept. to meet the army in western Pennsylvania. Washington stayed with the army until 19 Oct., but the secretary of the treasury remained another month. Hamilton transmitted the president’s instructions and his own advice to the army’s commander, Henry Lee. Lee’s general orders and communications with local officials were published in the Philadelphia newspapers, and in editorials Benjamin Franklin Bache denounced Hamilton’s presence with the army (Jackson and Twohig, Diaries of George Washington, 6:178, 195; Hamilton to Lee, 20 Oct. and 13 Nov. 1794, Hamilton to Washington, 19 Nov. 1794, 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 , 17:331–36, 367–69, 391; Philadelphia General Advertiser, 29 Oct., 3, 5, and 6 Nov. 1794; Philadelphia Gazette, 14 Nov. 1794; Supplement to the Philadelphia Gazette, 15 Nov. 1794).

2On the national results of the 1794–95 congressional elections, see Madison in the Third Congress, 2 Dec. 1793–3 Mar. 1795.

3In the Boston congressional election on 3 Nov., Federalist incumbent Fisher Ames defeated Dr. Charles Jarvis. Republicans and Federalists accused each other of securing the support of ineligible voters (Bernhard, Fisher Ames, pp. 237–41).

4Republican Elbridge Gerry had represented the Middlesex district in the First and Second Congresses. Federalist Samuel Dexter, Jr., represented the third western district in the Third Congress, but the 1794 redistricting of Massachusetts placed him in the second middle district—roughly equivalent to the old Middlesex district—where Republican Joseph Bradley Varnum won more votes than Gerry and Dexter. Though Gerry withdrew from the race, three runoff elections were held before Varnum gained a majority over Dexter (Stanley B. Parsons, William W. Beach, and Dan Hermann, United States Congressional Districts, 1788–1841 [Westport, Conn., 1978], pp. 10, 46, 79; Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 14 Nov. 1794, 3 Feb. 1795; see also Dexter to JM, 3 Feb. 1795, and n. 1).

5The party balance in the New York delegation to the House of Representatives shifted from three Republicans and seven Federalists in the Third Congress to six Republicans and four Federalists in the Fourth Congress (JM to Jefferson, 15 Feb. 1795; John Beckley to JM, 20 Apr. 1795).

6As a result of the 1794 congressional election, Republican representatives in the Pennsylvania delegation increased their majority from 7–5 (plus one member of undetermined partisanship) in the Third Congress to 9–4 in the Fourth Congress. In Philadelphia, Republican John Swanwick defeated the Federalist incumbent Thomas FitzSimons (Parsons et al., United States Congressional Districts, pp. 58–61).

7During the course of the Third Congress, Maryland Republicans had increased their numbers as a result of several resignations and defections. As JM predicted, their 5–3 majority in the House delegation remained unchanged in the Fourth Congress (Risjord, Chesapeake Politics, p. 656 n. 61).

8John Patten opposed administration policies in the Third Congress until the pro-administration Henry Latimer contested his election and took his seat on 14 Feb. 1794. Patten then won reelection to the Fourth Congress. The Delaware General Assembly elected Latimer to the U.S. Senate, and he resigned his House seat on 7 Feb. 1795 (BDC description begins Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774–1971 (Washington, 1971). description ends , pp. 1268, 1515).

9Alexander Gillon, an opponent of administration policies, represented the Beaufort-Orangeburg district of South Carolina in the Third Congress until his death on 6 Oct. 1794. In the elections to the Fourth Congress on 13–14 Oct., Federalist John Barnwell won in that district, and in the Ninety-Six district Robert Goodloe Harper defeated the Federalist incumbent, John Hunter. When Barnwell declined to serve, the Beaufort-Orangeburg district elected Republican Wade Hampton on 19–20 Jan. 1795. Harper also won the by-election on 10–11 Nov. 1794 to fill out Gillon’s term, took his seat on 9 Feb. 1795, and represented the Beaufort-Orangeburg district for the remainder of the Third Congress. He then served as the Ninety-Six district’s congressman until 1801. Though Harper was elected as a Republican, Pierce Butler warned JM that “he will be liable to impressions, and apt to be hurri[e]d away by the feelings of the moment.” Soon after his arrival in Philadelphia, Harper became a Federalist (Edgar et al., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 2:55, 3:270–71, 309–10, 362; Charleston, S.C., Columbian Herald, 13 and 29 Oct., 19 Nov. 1794, 30 Jan. and 4 Mar. 1795; Philadelphia Gazette of the U.S., 4 Nov. 1794; Butler to JM, 23 Jan. 1795).

10Neither of Maryland’s U.S. senators was up for reelection in 1794. Federalist Richard Potts finally resigned on 24 Oct. 1796, Republican John Henry on 10 Dec. 1797 (BDC description begins Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774–1971 (Washington, 1971). description ends , pp. 1561–62, 1107).

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