James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Albert Gallatin, [4 January] 1813

From Albert Gallatin

Monday [4 January 1813]

Dear Sir

I do not believe that the appointmt. of Govr. Tompkins1 would be either eligible or calculated to inspire confidence. No person thinks him equal to the place at such time as this. The office requires first abilities & frightens those who know best its difficulties. Dearborn & Mr Monroe have shrunk from it, & so will, I suspect, Crawford.2 Respectfy. Yours

Albert Gallatin

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers). Undated; date assigned here on the basis of the fact that 4 Jan. 1813 was the last Monday before JM nominated John Armstrong as secretary of war on 8 Jan. (Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 2:315).

1Above the line here in JM’s hand is written “(Secy of war).”

2JM hoped that James Monroe would take over the duties of the War Department on a permanent basis. Monroe, however, was concerned about how such an appointment would affect his prospects in the 1816 presidential race and declined the position. Reinstating Henry Dearborn in the post he had occupied during the Jefferson administrations seemed ill-advised after the military defeats in the fall of 1812. JM also considered William Harris Crawford as a possible replacement for Eustis, but Crawford also refused (see Brant, Madison description begins Irving Brant, James Madison (6 vols.; Indianapolis and New York, 1941–61). description ends , 6:126–28).

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