James Madison Papers

From James Madison to James Monroe, 8 January 1802

To James Monroe

Washington, Jany 8, 1802.

Dear Sir,

I have not yet thanked you for the copy of your Message,1 which I find has attracted attention, and circulates with advantage to yourself, as well as to the public. It is much to be wished that the same manly and enlarged sentiments, and the same just and enlightened policy, might distinguish the addresses of all the Republican Governors, and co-operate with the example set by the President, in affording honorable contrasts to the passionate and apostate harangues which disgraced a certain period in certain quarters.

Will you tell me what is the precise measure and kind of qualifications possessed by your friend, Mr. ——?2 Has he any knowledge of law? is he any wise familiar with forms? is he practically acquainted with the usages and details of trade? is he ready and clever with his pen, and for a style of writing beyond the ordinary course of business? is his judgment of the solid and correct kind? I ask these questions with a wish that you would answer them in a manner enabling me to take the exact dimensions of the character, and with a further wish that it may not be known they were asked, particularly that it may not reach him or his friends that any correspondence in relation to him has passed between us.

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