James Madison Papers

Circular Letter to the Governors, 24 September 1804

Circular Letter to the Governors


Department of State, Sepr. 24th. 1804.


I have the honor to notify to you, in pursuance of the act of Congress, passed on the 26th of March last,1 entitled “An act supplementary to the act entitled ‘An act relative to the election of a President and Vice-President of the United States, and declaring the officer who shall act as President, in case of vacancies in the offices both of President and Vice-President,[‘]”—That the amendment proposed, during the last session of Congress, to the constitution of the United States, respecting the manner of voting for President and Vice-President of the United States, has been ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, to wit, by those of Vermont, Rhode-Island, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia.2 I request you to be pleased to acknowledge the receipt hereof. I have the honor to be, With very great respect, Sir, Your most obedient servant,

James Madison

RC, four copies (DNDAR; MdAA: Red Book 9; THi; Vi: Executive Papers); letterbook copy, two copies (DNA: RG 59, DL, vol. 14; M-Ar); Tr, two copies (DNA: RG 46, Election Records for New York, 8AndH1; Vi: Executive Communications). RC is a printed circular, signed by JM, with date and name of state supplied by a clerk. First RC addressed to the governor of New Hampshire (John Gilman). Three other surviving copies of the RC are addressed to the governors of Maryland (Robert Bowie), Tennessee (John Sevier), and Virginia (John Page). First letterbook copy addressed “To the Governors of the several States”; second letterbook copy addressed to the governor of Massachusetts (Caleb Strong). Trs addressed to the governors of New York (Morgan Lewis) and Virginia.

1U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 2:295–96.

2On 25 Sept. 1804 JM issued an almost identical public notice (DNA: RG 59, DL, vol. 14), which was printed in the National Intelligencer on 10 Oct. 1804.

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