James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Monroe, 10 December 1797

From James Monroe

Albemarle Decr 10. 1797.

Dear Sir

You were so kind as intimate some time since you cod. accomodate me with a draft for two or three hundred dolrs. at Phil. At that time I thought I cod. get along without it, but the excessive charges attending the transportation of my furniture, far exceeding the real value inclines me to accept the draft if you can now furnish it with perfect convenience to yrself.

I have read the speech & replies, & really begin to entertain serious doubts whether this is the country we inhabited 12. or 15. years ago: whether we have not by some accident been thrown to another region of the globe, or even some other planet, for every thing we see or hear of the political kind seems strange & quite unlike what we used to see.1 Have you any explanation on this head from our political pilots at Phila.?

We are very lonesome and very desirous of seeing you if you cod. pay us a visit for a few days. I am projecting at my other place abt. a house, & wod. be glad of yr. aid.2 We have too few inducments I fear to make it an object with Mrs. M. to expose herself to the cold, not well to be avoided, in one of our offices or we shod. be happy she wod. accompany you & stay a week with us. Our best wishes to her & the family. Believe me yr. friend & servant

Jas. Monroe

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers).

1Monroe’s reaction to the president’s speech to Congress, given 23 Nov., presumably was caused by Adams’s agenda, which called for loans or taxation to support a military establishment needed to protect the commerce of the U.S. “Commerce has made this country what it is, and it cannot be destroyed or neglected without involving the people in poverty and distress.” For Republicans, another disquieting feature of Adams’s speech was his call for presidential power to postpone the sitting of Congress. The reply of the House of Representatives was agreed to with little debate and was presented to the president 29 Nov. The Senate had waited upon the president with its reply the day before (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 5th Cong., 2d sess., 471–75, 630–52).

2Monroe set up housekeeping at his home in Albemarle County, on the outskirts of Charlottesville, after his return from France in 1797. However, he began that summer to build a house on an estate adjacent to Monticello. The Monroes moved into the new place, called Highland, in December 1799 (Ammon, James Monroe, pp. 163–64).

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