James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Charles Pinckney, [ca. 10] December 1812

From Charles Pinckney

In Columbia [ca. 10] December 1812

Dear Sir

I wrote you the other day recommending to you a gentleman who will forward the letter1—since this as I stated to you we have on the 2d given to you an unanimous vote by our Electors2 & North Caroline having done the same3 fixes you in the Chair for 4 Years more on which Event I congratulate yourself & our Country—it is one I never had any doubt of but as there was a stir in some of the northern states, & attempts seriously made in North Carolina & ⟨e⟩xpected in this I thought it my duty (having been elected for Charleston) to attend the present session at Columbia—a Clintonian Emissary of some official consequence was here, but soon finding how vain any attempt would be, he departed. I lament extremely Mr. Clintons conduct, & view it as inexpressibly aggravated by the time & by its holding out to our Enemy the appearance of Division & disaffection as well to your administration, as to our Union & a belief that they are ready at any time to sacrifice their rights to the benefits of commerce.

I fear from what I have heard You are not in good health nor should I be surprised at it—the cares you have had & which must still surround you are sufficient to wear out the strongest constitution, & as neither you or myself are as young as when we formed the Constitution You must feel it more & the unexpected disasters at the commencement of our Land War must have increased your uneasiness. We look with anxiety to Canada & to the Ocean & to the difference of Opinion which will probably prevail in England when the intelligence of our Elections reaches them—to the first for the repair of our disasters & to the last for the return of peace under the conviction that our Enemy seeing all hope of succeeding by obtaining majorities in our councils at an end will yield to your reasonable propositions. I wrote to you some months agoe on the subject of General Joseph Alston4—that gentleman is this moment elected Governour of this state5 & will of course have the honour to address you on the particular situation of this State: & its maritime frontier. With great regard & Esteem, & best wishes for your happiness & honour I am dear sir always Yours Truly

Charles Pinckney

Since writing the within we have heard of the capture of the Frigate Macedonia6 on which I congratulate you & trust this & the guerriere will be the means of inducing Congress to increase our Vessels of War

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM. Dated December 1812 in the Index to the James Madison Papers; date assigned here on the basis of evidence presented in n. 5.

1Letter not found.

2For the presidential election in South Carolina, see Thomas Lehré to JM, 10 Nov. 1812, and n. 2.

3For the elections in North Carolina, see JM to Jefferson, 14 Oct. 1812, and n. 8.

4Letter not found.

5Joseph Alston was elected governor of South Carolina on 10 Dec. 1812 and served until December 1814 (Sobel and Raimo, Biographical Directory of the Governors, 4:1393).

6The British frigate Macedonian was captured by the United States, under the command of Stephen Decatur, on 25 Oct. 1812 between the Azores and the Cape Verde Islands (Dudley, Naval War of 1812, 1:548–49).

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