From Edmund Pendleton
Virga. June 9. 1789.
I am to thank you for several favrs. & inclosures, the last May the 17th.1 I am much pleased with your new Gazzette, which I think promises to be as respectable as it’s name sake of London.2 The tardy progress of yr. revenue System, has I imagine produced all the mischief it was capable of, in letting the Spring importations escape it’s operation; however I do not mean to insinu[a]te blame to the House, who I think used more dispatch than might have been expected in discussing a subject so delicate as well as important. On the Subject of discrim[in]ation in the Tonage of foreign Vessels between those under commercial Treaty with Us, & such as are not, you have made a Convert of me,3 in reading the debates; My fondness for universal freedom in trade carried me too far, & I am now convinced as that is not attainable, it is reasonable & Politic by a discrimination to tempt those who have stood out, to come into such Treaties. I believe you are also perfectly right in Supposing the measure popular in Virga. & especially among those called Antis: of those I hear little since yr. commencement in business.
I hope the idea of titles is sent to eternal repose;4 I know nothing wch. in my Judgment would more strengthen Opposition than the adoption of such a measure, giving countenance to all the suspicions hitherto forged only, of a tendancy in the Government to favr. Aristocratic principles. The Season is unfavorable & the prospect of crops bad. I am as much as ever, Affy. Yrs.
RC (owned by Richard Gilder, Jr., New York, N.Y., 1990). Docketed by JM. Extract printed in PJM description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (1 vol. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986—). description ends , 12:210.
2. John Fenno began publishing the Gazette of the U.S. in New York on 15 Apr. 1789 as one of three newspapers that reported congressional debates in 1789. Pendleton must have assumed it was, or would become, the official government newspaper, as was its “name sake,” the London Gazette (Brigham, History of American Newspapers, 1:645; Madison at the First Session of the First Federal Congress, 8 Apr.–29 Sept. 1789, PJM description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (1 vol. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986—). description ends , 12:63–64; Lucyle Werkmeister, A Newspaper History of England, 1792–1793 [Lincoln, Neb., 1967], p. 27).
3. For JM’s advocacy of discrimination and reciprocity in commercial dealings with foreign countries, see his speech of 4 May 1789 (PJM description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (1 vol. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986—). description ends , 12:125–30).