James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Monroe, 6 November 1800

From James Monroe

Richmond Novr. 6. 1800.

Dear Sir

I wrote you two days since by my servant who was to put the letter in the post office at charlottesville. This will be presented by Mr. Ervin1 a young man of merit from Boston. I saw him in Paris, but on some ground wh. I forget refused him my passport, in consequence whereof we did not become acquaint⟨ed. He pub⟩lished2 my book in Engld., of which he sent me a copy. Last winter he was introduc’d to Mr. Jefferson by a letter from Saml. Adams who vouched for his republicanism. I mention these circumstances that you may know his character, as he wishes to communicate confidentially with you on a topic of great importance & some delicacy in respect to a person interested in it. We are sufficiently on our guard agnst our opponents, but Mr. Jeffersons election ought to be secured agnst. accident wh. might otherwise give us in the first station, a friend we did not intend to place there. This is the subject on wh. he is disposed to confer with you, and as he has the strongest pretentions to confidence as above, think there will be a propriety in it: wh. however is submitted to you.3 I heard yesterday Mr. Macon had a letter for me, probably from you, wh. I mention to excuse my not answering it, if it be so. The elections have been very successful in favor of the republican cause. In Prince George, the vote was 197. for that ticket, and only 9. for the other: It is said that in chesterfield the suffrage was unanimous in its favor. It was certainly so late in the evening. Thus in this state the publick delusion seems to be fast dissipating. I hear that Mr. Jones has been confined for a fortnight to his bed in Loudon. His last letter recd. yesterday stated that he was still confined, but as he did not say to his bed hope it was only to his room. I shod. soon be with him if I cod. with safety leave my family & Richmond at the present time. Your friend & servant

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers). Addressed by Monroe to JM at Orange. Signature clipped (see n. 2).

1George W. Erving (1769–1850) was born to a Loyalist Boston family that resettled in England during the Revolution. He was educated at Oxford but returned to Massachusetts where he became an ardent Republican. While U.S. minister in Paris, Monroe had refused to issue Erving a passport, a rebuff that did not discourage the young man from republishing in London Monroe’s book, A View of the Conduct of the Executive. After serving in minor diplomatic posts in London and Spain during the Jefferson administration, Erving was named by JM in 1810 as special minister to Denmark to deal with spoliation claims. In 1814 JM appointed him minister to Spain, where he served until 1819 (Monroe to Erving, 4 Apr. 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 , 3:171; Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 2:156, 531).

2Part of line cut away when signature was clipped from verso.

3Monroe and Erving were anxious that the presidential election not end, as it did, in a tied vote between Jefferson and Burr, the Republican candidates. Erving went to Montpelier to discuss with JM whether Virginia should throw a vote or two away from Burr to ensure Jefferson’s victory. Apparently Erving did not broach the subject during his visit, so the discussion was never held (Ammon, James Monroe, p. 190; JM to Monroe, 10 and ca. 10 Nov. 1800).

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