James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Dawson, 5 July 1798

From John Dawson

July 5. 1798.

Dear Sir

On tuesday I recievd your letter of the 25 of the last month.1

Mr. Jefferson I presume calld on you & inform[ed] you of our movements here—since he went away2 we have been going on in the old way—today we have passd resolutions for raising 12 additional regiments of infantry & 6 companies of horse—on which a bill is orderd in, & will doubtless pass.3

The sedition bill, under the name of an act to amend the law for the punishment of crimes & punishments, came down from the senate on today—an opposition was made to the 2d. reading—which did not succeed, 47. to 36. & I have very little doubt of their passing the bill—it exceeds any thing which has disgrac’d the present session, or the history of any country pretending to be free—what is to become of us I cannot tell, but think we are certainly ruind if the people do not come forward & exercise their rights.

We have nothing late from Europe—with much Esteem Your friend & Sert

J Dawson


1Letter not found.

2On 26 June, Jefferson requested and was granted leave from the Senate for the remainder of the session (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., 591).

3The resolutions for increasing the military establishment, introduced by Samuel Smith on 5 July, were debated and referred to a select committee the same day. Congress adjourned before a bill was reported (ibid., 2088–93).

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