James Madison Papers

From James Madison to St. George Tucker, 21 July 1812

To St. George Tucker

Washington July 21. 1812

Dr. Sir

I was duly favored with yours of the 8th. on the subject of the B. officer arrested near Norfolk.1 The circumstances which attracted your notice very justly exposed him to suspicion; and it is more than possible that he had the views tho’ not the full character of a Spy. It was thought best however to commence the war with an example of liberality, and he was permitted as a mere alien Enemy to depart for his own Country.

The papers inclosed contain specimens of the political Spirit which reigns at Boston; and of the manner in which a British Cabinet is made up.2 Accept assurances of my great esteem and friendly respects

James Madison

RC (DLC). Docketed “ansd. 27th.”

1PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (5 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 4:576–77.

2JM may have enclosed the 11 and 14 July 1812 issues of the National Intelligencer. In the “Address of the Senate, to the People of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” reprinted there on 11 July 1812, the senators decried war in principle but said they understood its necessity in light of the seemingly unprovoked attacks by the British. They requested that all citizens of the state support the war. The newspaper also reported on that day that the British ministry had resigned and on 14 July speculated that it might be reconstituted under Lord Wellesley and George Canning.

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