James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Tench Coxe, [ca. 24 September 1814]

From Tench Coxe

[ca. 24 September 1814]

Mr. Cose most respectfully requests the favor of the President to peruse, in the democratic press of this 24 Septr., a paper on the subject of “the balance of Naval power” in the whole or parts of the 1. 2. 3 & 4th. inner Columns.1 This great and costly power, he humbly conceives, should be thoroughly investigated. It was new in 1791. It is so large & has so many sides, as not to be very easily embraced at this time by the strongest & most experienced mind. The present suggestion seems to be a progression in which all parties & nations may agree.

Mr. Coxe begs leave cordially to congratulate the President upon the manifest dissipation of the cloud, which the sudden and great increase of the disposable force of the Enemy in April had gathered on our political horizon.2 The frantic, barbarian and impracticable menace of Adml. C. has caused a revolution in our seaports, which ensures the wearing out any force the enemy has or can have, in half the period of the revolutionary war, to speak, with great moderation. Much more is hoped, and expected.

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM. Undated; dated 1814 in the Index to the James Madison Papers; conjectural date assigned here based on internal evidence and evidence in n. 2.

1Incorporating lengthy extracts from Coxe’s View of the United States of America, in a Series of Papers, Written at Various Times, between the Years 1787 and 1794 (Philadelphia, 1794; Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … from … 1639 … to … 1820 (12 vols., Chicago, 1903–34). description ends 26829), the essay argued that the United States and other “maritime states” should pass navigation acts similar to those of Great Britain in order to combat that nation’s disproportionate naval power (Philadelphia Democratic Press, 24 Sept. 1814).

2The “cloud” to which Coxe referred was probably the threat of British attacks on U.S. coastal towns and cities, encapsulated by Vice Adm. Sir Alexander Cochrane’s 18 Aug. 1814 letter to James Monroe (see Presidential Proclamation, 1 Sept. 1814, and n. 1). The likelihood of such incursions was greatly diminished after 14 Sept. 1814, when the British abandoned their attack on Baltimore (see JM’s Annual Message to Congress, 20 Sept. 1814, and n. 4).

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