James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Monroe, 15 May 1800

From James Monroe

Albemarle May 15. 1800

Dear Sir

I have just taken a transient view of my affrs. here for a day or two, & set out back to Richmd. to day. It wod. give me great pleasure cod. I extend my trip to yr. house but that is impossible, and altho’ I had this excursion in view for a fortnight past yet I cod. not ask you to meet me; as I expected that pleasure when Mr. Jeffn. arrived. I wish to be back to see some of the southern members as they go thro’ Richmd. Besides I think there is cause to suspect the sedition Law will be carried into effect in this state at the approaching fedl. court, & I ought to be there to aid in preventing trouble. A camp is formed of abt. 400. men at Warwick 4. miles below Richmd. & no motive for it assigned; except to proceed to Harpers ferry, to sow cabbage seed. But the gardening season is passing & this camp remains. I think it possible an idea may be entertained of opposition &c by means whereof the fair prospect of the republican party may be overcast. But in this they are deceivd. as certain characters in Richmd. & some neighb’ring counties are already warned of this danger, so that an attempt to excite a hot water insurrection will fail.1 The small pox, is a more formidable enemy to my family than this camp, as it keeps it barricaded at home. We shall make Mrs. Madison & yrself a visit soon after we get up, Mrs. M.’s & my best respects to her; sincerely I am yr. friend & servt.

Jas. Monroe

RC (NN: Monroe Papers).

1The impending trial of James Thomson Callender on charges of sedition provoked a great deal of excitement in Richmond. It was Monroe’s concern that no incident like the Fries insurrection in Pennsylvania provide a pretext for federal military intervention, the possibility of which was strengthened by the posting of a federal army unit in nearby Warwick, Virginia (JM to Monroe, 23 May 1800; Monroe to Jefferson, 25 May 1800, Hamilton, Writings of Monroe description begins Stanislaus Murray Hamilton, ed., The Writings of James Monroe … (7 vols.; New York and London, 1898–1903). description ends , 3:180; Heitman, Historical Register U.S. Army, 2:555).

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