James Madison Papers

James Madison to Richard Rush, 17 January 1829

Montpellier Jany. 17. 1829

Dear Sir

I have recd. your very kind letter of the 12th. The commendations you bestow on those relating to the Tariff belong rather to what so pregnant & important a subject ought to have made them, than to what they are. They were written to a friend who wished to avail himself of the presumed result of my better opportunities of elucidating the question; and whom I considered as needing such an outline only of topics & references, as might be filled up by the researches, developments, & reflections of which he was himself very capable. I may mention that tho’ the letters were finally published with my assent, it was given with an understanding that such a use was not to be made of them, till the Presidential struggle should be over; and with it, the possibility of a misconstruction that might impute inconsistency to the writer and defeat any good tendency the publication might otherwise have.

That there should be a difference of opinion on the policy of legislative encouragement in any form to manufacturing industry was to be expected. But that a Constitutional power to encourage it, thro’ the Custom house, should at this day be denied, was certainly what I had not anticipated. Nor was I less surprised at the rapid growth, than at the birthplace of the doctrine, that would convert the Federal Government into a mere League, which would quickly throw the States back into a chaos, out of which not order, a second time, but lasting disorder of the worst kind, could not fail to grow. There is however such excellent talents, and so much of personal worth, mingled with those aberrations, that we may hope they will not be of long continuance. Opinions whose only root is in the passions, must wither as the subsiding of these withdraws the necessary pabulum.

It affords us great pleasure to have the pledge from Mrs. Rush, that we are not to be finally disappointed of the visit so long expected. In the mean time & at all times, be assured of our affectionate regards, and all our best wishes.

James Madison

RC (PHi); draft (DLC).

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