James Madison Papers

To James Madison from an Unidentified Correspondent, 21 March 1810

From an Unidentified Correspondent

Philada. March 21. 1810


I have taken the liberty of forwarding to you a copy of the Democratic Press1 containing the Letter from Colonel Frederick Evans, Member of the State Legislature from the Democratic County of Northumberland, to Wm Duane Lt. Colonel of the Rifle regiment2 in the Standing Army of the United States and Commandant of the troops at the old Lazaretto near fort Miflin to give you some idea of the estimation in which your Military officer is held in this State by the firmest republicans.

It will be worth your attention to make some enquiry respecting this officer who is now become so obnoxious to the republicans of this State that unless something is done we will really have to turn ours; to the source from whence he derived his power. Is it I will ask the President of the U States proper to keep in Commission a Lieut. Colonel who abuses in the vilest manner all the Constituted Authorities of the State from the Executive & Legislative down to the appointments made by the Governor. Is such conduct as Willm. Duane is Guilty of not sufficient to require an investigation in to his conduct—for my part I think it sufficient to justify the President for removing him from office—& I can assure Mr Madison that this is the opinion of 19 twentieths of the Democrats of this commonwealth & tha⟨t⟩ if he places any reliance on the Aurora he may rest satisfied that it is a broken stick on which he depends. The Aurora is held in this state in the same Estimation that the Abandoned James Cheethams paper3 is held in the state of New York.

It is allmost insufferable that such Cowardly Poltroon as Duane should be paid by the United States about 2000 Dollars pr. An for abusing and Reviling the Democrats of this state. But you will find shortly that Unless, the Feds support the Aurora it will fall to the ground—with the assistance of the U States 2000$ pr. Ann. I am Sir your sincere friend & fellow Republican

RC (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, A-39:5). Docketed by a War Department clerk as received 27 Apr. 1810.

1The 21 Mar. issue of the Philadelphia Democratic Press contained a letter from Frederick Evans to William Duane, editor of the “apostate paper called the Aurora.” Evans was responding to allegations printed in the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser of 8 Mar. to the effect that Evans, as the brother-in-law of Pennsylvania governor Simon Snyder, was at the center of a faction in the Pennsylvania state legislature promoting measures to produce “civil war” between the federal government and the state in the aftermath of the Olmstead affair of 1809. Evans denied the charges and further stated that he was “no relation whatever to Governor Snyder either by blood or marriage.”

2In 1808 Jefferson had awarded Duane his commission, which he resigned on 31 July 1810. In 1813 JM appointed him adjutant general of the fourth military district (Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 2:101, 106, 371, 380; Heitman, Historical Register description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from Its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903 (2 vols.; Washington, 1903). description ends , 1:385).

3James Cheetham was editor of the N.Y. American Citizen.

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