James Madison Papers

From James Madison to William Plumer, 14 April 1813

To William Plumer


Washington Apl. 14. 1813

Dear Sir

I have duly recd. your favor of the 27th. Ult: The issue of your late elections excites more regret than surprize, considering the disadvan[ta]ges they had to encounter. I learn with pleasure that the public sentiment is such as to secure N. Hampshire agst. a protracted alienation from the just cause in wch. the nation is contending. Massachussets it would seem is more determined on the devious course it has lately pursued. Even there however there is a faithful portion, of sufficient weight to controul tho’ not to cure the sinister councils which have prevailed.1 The progress of the elections, now depending in Virginia, is represented as manifesting a satisfactory firmness in that State, notwithstanding the peculiar pressure which the policy of the Enemy is allotting to it.2 In N. Carolina & N. York the Elections have not commenced. The calculations recd. here are encouraging, as to the results in both.3

Whether we are to have peace this year or when depends on the Enemy; our disposition & terms being known to every body. Unless the B. Govt. should entertain views & hopes with respect to this country, distinct from the ordinary calculation of events, it is difficult to conceive any rational or even plausible ground for a refusal of such a peace as is within their option. The mediation of Russia will soon be a test of their purposes. In the mean time, our efforts will not be slackened in pushing on the war. You will have seen that the pecuniary means have been happily secured for the current year. Accept my esteem & best respects

James Madison

RC (MH).

1The Boston Columbian Centinel of 7 Apr. 1813 reported that Federalists Caleb Strong and William Phillips had been reelected as Massachusetts’ governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, and that a Federalist majority had been elected to the state senate. Massachusetts Republicans, however, observed that despite “great exertions made by the federalists” and “inattention” on their own part, they had realized a net gain of 4,142 votes since the elections of November 1812 (Boston Chronicle, 8 Apr. 1813).

2Virginia elected seventeen Republicans and six Federalists to the Thirteenth Congress, increasing its Republican majority by one. Among the Republicans elected were Thomas Jefferson’s son-in-law John Wayles Eppes, who defeated John Randolph of Roanoke and would once again become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and John G. Jackson, Dolley Madison’s brother-in-law (Niles’ Weekly Register 4 [1813]: 268; Brant, Madison description begins Irving Brant, James Madison (6 vols.; Indianapolis and New York, 1941–61). description ends , 6:184; Ketcham, James Madison, 559).

3North Carolina sent ten Republicans and three Federalists to the Thirteenth Congress. In New York, the state senate maintained a Republican majority, and the Federalists lost seats but preserved their advantage in the Assembly. In what was viewed as a victory for the war effort, Republican governor Daniel D. Tompkins, a steadfast supporter of JM’s administration, was reelected, defeating Federalist Stephen Van Rensselaer by 3,606 votes (Niles’ Weekly Register 4 [1813]: 200, 268; Irwin, Daniel D. Tompkins, 168–70).

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