James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 25 March 1800

From Thomas Jefferson

Philadelphia Mar. 25. 1800.

Your’s of the 15th. is safely recieved. I percieve by that that I had by mistake sent you Ramsay’s Eulogy instead of Cooper’s smaller pamphlet,1 which therefore I now inclose, merely for the last paper in it, as the two first were in the copy I first sent you. I inclose also mr. Nicholas’s amendment2 this day proposed to the bill concerning President & V. P. formerly sent you. We expect it will be rejected by 17. to 13. in Senate but that it may be brought forward in the lower house with better prospects. We have nothing from Europe but what you will see in the newspapers. The Executive are sending off a frigate to France; but for what purposes we know not. The bankrupt law will pass. A complimentary vote of a medal to Truxton will pass.3 A judiciary law adding about 100,000 D. to the annual expence of that department is going through the H. of R.4 A loan of 3½ millions will pass. The money it is said will be furnished by some English houses. Bankruptcies continue at Baltimore; and great mercantile distress & stagnation here. The Republican spirit beginning to preponderate in Pennsva., Jersey & N. Y. and becoming respectable in Mass. N. Hampsh. & Connect. Of R. I. & Vermont I can say nothing. There are the strongest expectations that the republican ticket will prevail in the city election of N. Y. Clinton, Gates, & Burr are at the head of it. It’s success decides the complexion of that legislature. We expect Gouvr. Morris to be chosen by the present legislature a Senator of the US. in the room of Watson resigned. The legislature here parted in a state of distraction; their successors, as soon as chosen, will be convened: but it is very questionable if the Senate will not still be obstinate. We suppose Congress will rise in May. Respectful & affectionate salutations to mrs. Madison & yourself. Adieu.

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers); FC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). Unsigned.

1Thomas Cooper, Political Essays (2d ed.; Philadelphia, 1800; Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … 1639 … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). description ends 37250). The first edition (Northumberland, Pa., 1799; Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … 1639 … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). description ends 35354) lacked two essays, entitled “On the Propriety and Expediency of unlimited Enquiry,” pts. 1 and 2.

2An amendment to the bill “prescribing the mode of deciding disputed elections of President and Vice President” was proposed by Wilson Cary Nicholas in the Senate on 25 Mar. 1800. The original bill proposed by James Ross provided for a grand committee of House and Senate members who would secretly examine elector credentials and votes and have the power to accept or reject them at will. Nicholas’s amendment suggested an open procedure by which the electoral votes would be counted and challenges to the status of any member of the electoral college would be decided by a majority vote of Congress. The amendment was defeated on 27 Mar. by a vote of 15 to 10. After further debate, on 13 May consideration of the bill was postponed until the next session of Congress (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 6th Cong., 1st sess., 119–21, 124–25, 179, 182).

4A bill for “the better regulation of the Courts of the United States” was taken up by the House of Representatives on 24 Mar. The legislation, which included provision for the creation of twenty-nine circuit courts, was committed to a special committee on 28 Mar., only to be postponed until the next session (ibid., 643–49, 665–66).

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