James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Montgomery, 9 August 1812

From John Montgomery

Baltimore 9th August 1812.


I presume you have seen the Statement with the Documents subjoined, Made under a resolve of the City Council of Baltimore, published in the American of yesterday,1 this gives the origin progress & extent of the late disturbances in this Place.

With regard to the Alarm for the safety of the Post Office here, the Very general Military Assemblage of all ranks for its protection, & the general sentiment expressed that it should not be Violated Affords evidence either that there was not any Very strong grounds for the Alarm, or if Any Attack was ever Meditated, it Must have been confined to a Very few. Should however any Violence be offered to this establishment, I am satisfied, it would be instantly put down by a Very large proportion of the people of Baltimore, who speak in terms of the greatest indignation against such an Outrage, perhaps an attempt, even the slightest, would be gratifying, to a certain political description of Men, as promoting, in their View, particular Objects to them desireable, but I decidedly think & trust, they will be disapointed.

Having information that a correspondence from this place is kept up with Washington between characters, who May Misrepresent, exaggerate, & Mislead, I have thought proper to communicate the above, that if Apprehensions Are entertained for the safety of the Post office, they May in some degree be Allayed. With the highest consideration your obt. Servt.

J Montgomery.2

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Montgomery referred to a committee report submitted to the city council on 6 Aug. 1812 and reprinted in the Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser on 8 Aug. that described the recent Baltimore riots.

2John Montgomery (1764–1828) was elected as a Republican to the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Congresses but resigned his seat on 29 Apr. 1811. He served as attorney general of Maryland from 1811 to 1818 and participated in the Battle of North Point in 1814 as the captain of an artillery company. He was mayor of Baltimore from 1820 to 1822 and from 1824 to 1826 (Melvin G. Holli and Peter d’A. Jones, eds., Biographical Dictionary of American Mayors, 1820–1980: Big City Mayors [Westport, Conn., 1981], 258–59).

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