James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Monroe, 6 September 1812

From James Monroe

Washington Sepr. 6. 1812

Dear Sir

I enclose you a letter from Col Humphreys1 & also one from Col. Pike.2 I am glad to see by the former that some expln. can be given of the proceedings in Connecticut different from what has been imputed & suspected.

Mr Serurier was with me, to day, & repeated what he had before stated of the cause of delay at Paris, & intimated that if any plan could be devised within the limit of his govt’s resources, not to bear too heavily, it would find a favorable disposition in it, at this moment to adopt it. I told him that I should communicate what he had said to you, & take your instruction.3

Many of our friends here have expressd to me an earnest desire that you should return as soon as possible, and I own that I am under an impression, that it would produce a very salutary effect. The public confidence in a friend near me, I mean his competency, in this crisis, is undoubtedly gone.4 Letters to several of our friends have been shewn me, which speak in terms, not only decided but harsh to that effect, and from the most respectable sources. Your absence, when every thing turns on that department, considering the public opinion of its head, may injure you.

If you think proper to send me westward, I should propose to take Wm. Jones of Phila. to lake Erie to build boats, & some agent equally efficient for the quarter masters department. Such men should be sent there let who may have the command. Respectfully your friend

Jas Monroe

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers). Docketed by JM.

1David Humphreys’s letter has not been found, but it probably related to an act passed by the special session of the Connecticut General Assembly convened on 25 Aug., which called for the formation of volunteer regiments composed of men exempt from regular service. Humphreys later served as the commander of such a company composed of men from his hometown of Derby, Connecticut (Humphreys, Life and Times of David Humphreys, 2:392). The act was published in the 7 Sept. issue of the Connecticut Mirror.

2For Pike’s letter, see Monroe to JM, 5 Sept. 1812, n. 4.

3In his 2 Sept. 1812 dispatch to the duc de Bassano, Sérurier reported on a lengthy conversation with the secretary of state about Franco-American commercial disputes, particularly spoliation claims and the tariff on American goods entering France. The cause of the “delay at Paris,” however, remained what it had long been—disagreement over whether these matters could be resolved in a new treaty of commerce, which Monroe reminded Sérurier the U.S. had never sought in the first place as a means of settling the outstanding differences between the two nations (AAE: Political Correspondence, U.S., vol. 67).

4Monroe referred to William Eustis.

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