James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Dawson, 9 December 1798

From John Dawson

Philadelphia Decemr. 9th. 1798.

Dear Sir

By the enclosd speech you will find that the tone of the president is much changed, and that we may still hope for peace1—what has producd this, or how far he is sincere, we cannot yet determine—in a few days we shall be able to form a better judgement—we have nothing late from Europe, nor can we form an opinion of the temper of our body—they do not appear to be in Spirits. Yrs. with much Esteem

J Dawson

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1The president’s speech to Congress, given 8 Dec. 1798, left open the possibility of negotiations with France. “It is peace that we have uniformly and perseveringly cultivated,” Adams said, “and harmony between us and France may be restored at her option.” If France would “desist from hostility” and “make reparation for the injuries heretofore inflicted on our commerce,” there could be “no obstacle to the restoration of a friendly intercourse.” The speech was published by order of the House of Representatives (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 5th Cong., 3d sess., 2420–24; Speech of the President of the United States to Both Houses of Congress … [Philadelphia, 1798; Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … 1639 … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). description ends 34831]).

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