James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert Fulton, 30 April 1812

From Robert Fulton

New York April 30th 1812

Dear Sir

I See a bill has passed for a second district Judge in this state,1 And as the necessity is great I beg leave to recommend that every thing reasonable be done to support the Madisonian interest, and that you recommend a Staunch friend to your interest to that office, to this end I call to your mind Mr Mathurin Livingston Soninlaw to Governor Lewis,2 who I believe is now in Washington, And beg of yo[u] to believe that this hint is given by me from no other motive than what I believe to be the interest of the Nation by mantaining your talents in office, for as you know for myself I want nothing.

The only Madisonian paper in this City the Public advertiser we are obliged to support by subscription, to which my part has been 250 for the Clinton interest gives all the patronage to the other papers: and they do every thing in their power to destroy the Public advertiser. The Post Master, the Collecter the district Judge, the Marshal, all give their printing and patronage to your enemies—yet the[y] live by the general government. Your friend for no other reason than a respect for your Virtues and talents

Robt Fulton

RC (DLC). Incorrectly docketed by JM, “Apl. 30. 1813.”

1The bill “authorizing the appointment of an additional judge of the district court for the district of New York” had been introduced in the Senate on 9 Apr. and debated and passed there between 13 and 23 Apr. It was debated and passed in the House of Representatives between 23 and 27 Apr. JM signed the bill on 29 Apr. 1812 (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 12th Cong., 1st sess., 195, 197, 199, 204, 208, 209, 1328, 1330, 1343; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 2:719–20).

2Maturin Livingston (b. 1769), the son of Robert James Livingston and Susan Smith Livingston, was both the son-in-law of the former New York governor Morgan Lewis and a nephew by marriage of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston. In 1804 Lewis had appointed him recorder of New York, but the Council of Appointment twice dismissed him, once in 1806 and again in 1808 after Lewis had reinstated him the previous year. JM did not follow Fulton’s advice; he appointed William P. Van Ness to the judgeship on 25 May 1812 (Dangerfield, Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, pp. 25, 399, 401, 402; 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 , 2:269).

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