James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Elbridge Gerry, 8 November 1812

From Elbridge Gerry

Cambridge 8th Novr 1812.

I have read, my dear Sir, with inexpressible pleasure, your message to Congress; embracing, in my veiw of it, every important point, & every requisite observation thereon, compatible with elegant precision. Had Congress adjourned to an earlier period, this important document would have probably had a salutary influence on the elections.

I observe with pleasure, that there is soon, to be a legal investigation of the causes of the incomprehensible conduct of Brigadier General Hull. In no instance have I been so unprepared as for that event. It did not, in my mind, exist within the compass of possibilities. My recommendation of him has been a source of mortification.1 I am informed, for I have not seen him, that he professes to be easy on the subject, from a conviction of good grounds for his Justification. On the possibility of this, I can give no opinion. If the trial, which must attract public attention should be in Boston, or the Vicinity, And you have not selected a Judge advocate, I know of no Lawyer in this State, who would do stricter Justice to the subject, than my son in law James T Austin Esqr.

The conduct of our citizens in their Congressional Elections is mysterious. It does not present a favorable prospect of those for our national Executive.2

I addressed Sir a letter to you on the 15th of August, on various subjects, & have the honor to remain with the highest esteem & respect, very sincerely your obedt. Sert

E. Gerry

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1See Gerry to JM, 12 and 27 Dec. 1811, PJM-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 , 4:64, 93.

2Gerry referred to the rise in the number of Federalists elected to the Thirteenth Congress (see JM to Thomas Jefferson, 14 Oct. 1812, nn. 5 and 7). As Gerry feared, the results presaged a steep decline in the number of Massachusetts Republicans voting in the presidential election. In the April 1812 election for governor, Massachusetts Republicans polled 51,326 votes, accounting for 49.3 percent of the votes cast; in the presidential election, the Republicans cast only 27,272 votes, representing 34.9 percent of the turnout (Banner, To the Hartford Convention, 361).

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