James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George Washington, 6 December 1795

From George Washington

Sunday Afternoon 6th. Decr 1795

Dear Sir,

The papers, of which I was speaking to you on friday evening, are herewith sent.

In looking over Sir John Sinclair’s letter1 (since I spoke to you on this subject) I perceive it is to a Committee I am at liberty to communicate the extracts. This, however, I consider as sufficient authority to give you the perusal of them; as the project, if it can be accomplished, in this country, must be put in train. When you have read, & considered the Papers, I would thank you for their return with your sentiments thereon.2

The “Outlines of the 15th chapter &ca” I send for your acceptance, several of thes⟨e⟩ having been forwarded to me. With great esteem & regard I am—Dear Sir Your Obedt. & Affecte Servt

G Washington

RC in two parts (ICHi, NjP). First part docketed by JM. JM wrote in the margin of the first part, “The paragraph cut off, sent as a requested autograph to the Revd. Mr Sprague.” William Buell Sprague, a Congregational clergyman and autograph collector, corresponded with JM, 1828–35. The second part of the RC, dated “Decr. 6. 1795” by JM, was probably the Washington autograph enclosed in JM to Sprague, 11 Aug. 1828 (NjP). Another Washington autograph has been attached to the first part.

1Sinclair to Washington, 18 July 1795, two letters (DLC: Washington Papers). Sinclair evidently sent to Washington copies of his Plan of an Agreement among the Powers in Europe, and the United States of America, for the Purpose of Rewarding Discoveries of General Benefit to Society (London, 1795), to which Washington added for JM the London Board of Agriculture’s Outlines of the Fifteenth Chapter of the Proposed General Report from the Board of Agriculture. On the Subject of Manures (London, 1795). In his 31 Dec. 1795 reply to Sinclair, Washington predicted that his proposals “may be checked by an unwillingness in the Legislative body to grant money generally and from some doubts of their Constitutional powers to do it for extraneous purposes however advantageous” (Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799 (39 vols.; Washington, 1931–44). description ends , 34:412–13). Washington had previously consulted JM about Sinclair’s proposals (Washington to JM, 10 Jan. 1794, PJM description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (1 vol. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984—). description ends , 15:175, 176 n. 1).

2The first part ends here.

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