James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Edward Livingston, April 1801

From Edward Livingston

New York Apl. 1801.

Dear Sir

I regret very much that I had not the pleasure of seeing you before I left the Seat of Government. On taking a final leave of that body in which I began my political noviciate with the advantage of your friendship & advice it would have been interesting to review the changes it has undergone since that period with one Whose liesure & observation have enabled him to mark their causes and effects to so much advantage. Some of those changes from the proud republican Majority in which we first met1 to the inefficient form with which Alien Sedition & other unconstitutional Laws were opposed can not be contemplated without some degree of terror mingled with the joy for our escape. It will require all the moderation and firmness of the new administration to make that escape complete—those characteristics properly combined & impressed on all public Measures I think must secure to republicanism the advantage it has gained—there is a general disposition as far as my observation goes to be reconciled to the change—& if no violent measures are pursued, no Removals take place for which satisfactory reasons can not be given—and the System of Oeconomy practised which we have always professed—there will be no bounds to the Spirit of proselytism which already has begun to work.

A Violent Effort is now making to retain the Executive and recover the legislative power of the State Government—but it is resisted with a becoming energy Our Majority in the City will be much greater than at the last election and our accounts from the other parts of the State are very flattering. It will be I think prudent to defer any removals that may be intended for some weeks. As I have some reason to believe that of the collector of this port is among the number I have been desired to name a gentleman who I believe is known to you (Mr. Ths. Tillotson)2 as an Applicant for that Office should it become Vacant. I am Dr Sir with the highest respect & Esteem Your Friend & Mo Obdt Serv

Edward Livingston3

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