James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 20 October 1797

To Thomas Jefferson

Octr. 20. 1797

Dear Sir

I recd the inclosed pamphlet from Col. Monroe with a request that it might be returned to you. The publication under all its characters is a curious specimen of the ingenious folly of its author. Next to the error of publishing at all, is that of forgetting that simplicity & candor are the only dress which prudence would put on innocence. Here we see every rhetorical artifice employed to excite the spirit of party to prop up his sinking reputation, and whilst the most exaggerated complaints are uttered agst. the unfair & virulent persecutions of himself, he deals out in every page the most malignant insinuations, agst. others. The one agst. you1 is a masterpiece of folly, because its impotence is in exact proportion to its venom. Along with the pamphlet is inclosed a letter which you will be good eno’ to have delivered by an early opportunity. Yrs. Affecly

Js Madison Jr

RC (DLC). Docketed by Jefferson, “recd. Oct. 21.”

1In a footnote to his Observations on Certain Documents, Hamilton accused Jefferson of corresponding with Andrew G. Fraunces, a former Treasury Department employee who had brought formal charges of favoritism in office against Hamilton in the House of Representatives in 1793. Hamilton published two letters from Jefferson to Fraunces in the appendix to the pamphlet, but their tone and content hardly supported Hamilton’s assertion of a friendly connection between the correspondents (see Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (27 vols.; New York, 1961–87). description ends , 14:460–70, 21:242, 284–85).

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