James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Louis-Philippe Gallot de Lormerie, 24 February 1802 (Abstract)

§ From Louis-Philippe Gallot de Lormerie1

24 February 1802, Philadelphia. Recalling their discussion of the welfare of the country when JM was in Philadelphia, hopes JM will accept a plan he has formed for the peace and prosperity of the southern states.2 More than ever foreign enemies can now excite the blacks to a revolt which would affect the union and its finances in ways that cannot be foreseen. Has no other interest in the South but that of the general good. Requests in recompense for his efforts a letter on his behalf from JM to Thomas Todd, clerk of the Court of Appeals at Frankfort, Kentucky, to whom he has written three times with no response. Seeks to know if 5,277 acres of land in Hardin County, Kentucky, was not registered in someone else’s name before his own registration of it in 1797 and, secondly, the date and wording of the registration for that land or a larger tract that previously belonged to Henry Banks of Richmond and Richard Claiborne.3 His fortunes have been greatly changed by paper money, and the suppression of his office in France without reimbursement leaves these lands his sole support for his old age. Admits in a postscript that people will say his plan is useless and that the terror of black insurrection is fanciful, but he urges adoption of the precautions. In 1785 and 1787 he foresaw the famine of 1789–95 in France and warned officials, who claimed want of finances. Argues that officials concerned with the present can sometimes be blind to future dangers; thus, it is not necessary for him to prove that the blacks in the South will revolt and massacre the population. His plan tends to prevent or to discover plots by impressing on blacks the salutary terrors of religion. Has now fulfilled his obligation. In another postscript requests JM to return the plan for the southern states if it is not adopted or to send him a copy in English if it should be adopted. Also asks JM to send the other communication, entitled “Wool, far more important than cotton,”4 to the editor of the Aurora.

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