James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Charles Pinckney, 26 May 1801

From Charles Pinckney


May 26: 1801 In Charleston

Dear Sir

I wish to mention to you a circumstance & to request your reparation of a Wrong done by Mr: Pickering during his administration to the most valuable republican Paper we ever had in this State. I mean the one called the City Gazette & Daily advertiser & published lately by Messieurs Freneau & Paine in Charleston & now by MacIver & Williams.1

Sometime in 1799 this Paper first published the Strictures on Jonathan Robbens[’]s Case2 & afterwards some moderate ones in reply to the Defenders of that measure. They had previously to this been always the paper employed to publish the Laws & official acts of the Government & notifications & advertisements of the heads of Departments, but immediately on the appearance of Robbens’s Case Mr: Pickering then Secretary, & under whose Letter Robbens was delivered, in a pretty high Stile of authority took from them all the public printing of the United States & gave it to one of the most high toned & abusive federal Papers in the Union—one supported almost entirely by the British Interest here & which still continues it’s abuse as appears by the papers I inclose of the last Week.3 Our Citizens here are anxious the printing of the United States should be restored to the City Gazette & request me to send You this information & to hope that the heads of Departments will also do so. I will be obliged to You to mention it to Mr Gallatin & Generals Smith & Dearborn as it is hurtful to our republican citizens feelings to see this paper the official announcer of the acts & advertisements of our present administration.

In filling up two Vacancies for this City & two for Saint Thomas’s Our republican ticket prevailed in all & as soon as We can get the Collectors Place & the growing & very great influence of the Custom house in the hands of a decided & able republican We shall in future be able to make this place, I mean Charleston one of the strongholds of republicanism, but whileever the influence of the Custom house is against us, Our Elections for Charleston are difficult. I have represented this to the President & am hopeful Mr Daniel Doyley4 will be appointed Collector by the last of August as a City Election comes on in September which the republicans are anxious to carry. I know your Wish to see this state act completely with the republican interest & therefore I mention these things confidentially to You. Being always with the greatest regard & respect Dear Sir Yours Truly

Charles Pinckney

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