James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Barbour, 13 December 1820

From James Barbour

Washington Dcr. 13. 20

Dear Sir

Your favorable recommendation of Mr. Coxe1 has interested me much in his behalf And I have already pressed his claims on the President who entertains for him a high respect and possesses every disposition to do something for him the first favorable opportunity. You will see by the papers that on yesterday the resolution for the admission of Missouri passed the Senate 26 to 18. Mr. Macon (as my old Father is wont to say) got his back up on account of Eatons proviso2 in itself a perfect milk and water thing or the vote would have been 27-17. Otis & Stokes3 being both absent and of different Sentiments would not tho present have altered the majority. Our real Strength therefore is 28 to 18.

Its fate in the House of Representatives is said to be uncertain. On the contrary I have personally always believed and Still do that they will admit Missouri. The only question is who shall be the ’scape goats of their party. Time and circumstance will furnish them. We are in daily expectation of the arrival of Mr Forsyth—whose private letters are more favorable than his official as to the ratification of the Treaty.4 Judging by those we have strong hopes of a ratification. France is obstinately foolish about our commercial intercourse and has set up the strange pretension that our law of the last session has violated the treaty of Louisiana in so far as the port of New Orleans is concerned5—Contending that equality in that port was forever Gu[a]ranteed with the most favored nation and therefore she had a claim to the same favor indulged to Great Britain of which she was deprived by the law above alluded to—And pretends as I understand to make it a sine qua non. Our Government has placed it on the foot of the general rule of a discrimination between privileges gratuitous and for equivalents—And have intimated thro Mr Gallatin if this be insisted on Mr Neuville’s trip here will be worse than useless. Accept assurances of my respect and friendship.

James Barbour

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

2On 6 Dec. 1820, U.S. senator John Henry Eaton of Tennessee offered a proviso to the resolution for admitting Missouri as a state, “that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to give the assent of Congress to any provision in the constitution of Missouri, if any such there be, which contravenes that clause in the Constitution of the United States, which declares that ‘the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.’” The proviso was defeated, 24-21, the next day. Eaton offered the proviso again on 11 Dec. 1820, once the Missouri Resolution had been reported to the Senate, and it passed. Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina moved to recommit the resolution so that Eaton’s proviso could be struck out, but that motion failed and the resolution passed to its third reading (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 16th Cong., 2d sess., 39, 41–42, 43–45, 99–100, 102, 115–16).

3Montfort Stokes (1762–1842), a Revolutionary War veteran from Virginia, settled in North Carolina in the 1780s. He held a number of local and state offices and served in the U.S. Senate, 1816–23, and as governor of his state, 1830–32. Appointed chairman of the Federal Indian Commission by President Andrew Jackson in 1832, he supervised Indian resettlement to west of the Mississippi River. He subsequently moved to Fort Gibson, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), where he served as subagent and agent to various Indian tribes until his death (Sobel and Raimo, Biographical Directory of the Governors, 3:1125–26).

4For the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819, see PJM-RS description begins David B. Mattern et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Retirement Series (2 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 2009–). description ends 1:410 n. 2.

5For the Franco–American disputes over commercial discrimination, see JM to Lafayette, 25 Nov. 1820, and n. 3.

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