James Madison Papers

From James Madison to James Monroe, [2 December] 1799

To James Monroe

Monday Evening [2 December 1799]

Dear Sir

Several of your friends here wish us to possess the document of Dr. Edwards procured by Mr. Dawson.1 Send it by the next post if you please with any observations you wish to make. L. Smith is appointed our Speaker by a majority of 80 odd vs. 50 odd—& Wirt Clerk by one of 90 odd vs 40 odd.2 Communicate this to Mr. J. & tell him I have recd. his letter by Mr. R. but cannot answer it now—it being ½ after 8 OC & the mail to close at 9 OC. and this being the first moment of my being apprized. Yrs.

J. M Jr

The D. of Y. defeated in Holland & the Russian Corp[s] of 7000 destroyed.3

RC (DLC). Addressed by JM to Monroe “near Charlottesville” and postmarked “R’D Dec. 2.” Docketed by Monroe. Docketed by JM at a later time, “Decr. 1799”; someone crossed out the year and wrote “1800.” Date here supplied on the basis of internal evidence (see nn. 2 and 3) and by comparison with Monroe to JM, 7 Dec. 1799.

1Enoch Edwards’s April 1798 letter to Monroe answered Monroe’s request for the doctor’s recollection of certain events that had taken place in Paris in 1796 (see Monroe to JM, 8 June 1798, and n. 5).

2The December 1799 election of staunch Republicans Larkin Smith and William Wirt as speaker and clerk, respectively, of the House of Delegates was part of a purge of Federalists from public office in Virginia. As Thomas Mann Randolph reported it to Jefferson: “I arrived in time to deliver your letter & with the truest joy inform you that your wish is completely gratified. The house of Delegates met at one. W: Giles nominated Wm. Wirt: George K. Taylor[,] A. Stewart for Clerk: something was said of character but political sentiments were directly urged by Giles, John Taylor & Nicolas as the true cause of the change desired and that argument was decisive with a great majority…. The nomination of Larkin Smith & Wise for Speaker succeeded: here every consideration but political sentiment was wholly waved” (Jefferson to JM, 26 Nov. 1799; John Dawson to JM, 28 Nov. 1799; Randolph to Jefferson, 3 Dec. 1799 [ViU: Jefferson Papers]; Beeman, The Old Dominion and the New Nation, pp. 211–13).

3The defeat of the Anglo-Russian forces on 19 Sept. 1799 was announced in the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser on 27 Nov. and fully reported on 30 Nov. The failure of the allied expedition in Holland, due in part to endless quarreling between the duke of York and the Russian commanders, resulted in the withdrawal of Russia from the Second Coalition (Rothenberg, Napoleon’s Great Adversaries, p. 61).

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