James Madison Papers

Lafayette to James Madison, 28 January 1829

Paris January 28. 1829

My dear friend

The last I Heard from You Was By a few introductory lines which Were presented By Mr. Borrowski at la Grange. I now am in town with my family, excepting my Beloved Grand daughter lafayette [ ] who passes the winter with Her Husband at Grenoble. the Session of the Chambers Opened Yesterday. the Speech from the throne was pretty Good, as Kings and Royal Speeches Go, Saving a transitory mention of mad theories which, I think, may without presumption Be Applied to the principles of our American School. I am Sorry to See the Contracted policy of England, in the fixation of Grecian Boundaries, Has prevailed over the more Generous intentions of France. the more particular mention of the New States of America Seems to Announce a disposition to Aknowledge their independence. A very imperfect Bill for departmental and municipal administrations will Be presented. it may Be Somewhat mended in the debate, and Upon the Whole the Readmitting the principle of direct election, However limited in its Application, is So far a Return towards political Civilization. a few days Before the Opening of the Session, the Seal keeper Had Been directed By the king to send for m. de Polignac Ambassador in England, the Genuine Representative of the Congregation party, with a View, no doubt, to fill up the place of Minister of foreign Affairs Vacated By the unfortunate State of Health of M. Laferronays one of the more Honest and liberal Royalists in France. the Seal keeper wrote for the Candidate of the Court, So far from Being the Candidate of the nation, that a public uproar was Excited, in which the minister and the writer Himself joined By a declaration to the king that they Could Not Serve with polignac. a Rather lame Arrangement was patched Up, under pretense to wait for the imporbable Recovery of the furlowed minister, and Nothing Remained of the intrigue But the Sense of Additional diffidence Which Government is Endeavouring to Remove. in the mean while Some interior improvements, slow indeed, But Not to Be slighted, will, I think, take place. All the powers of Europe are trying to Conciliate the two despotic Eastern powers whose mutual irritation is Greece, and Has the Assent of their own people. In those Negotiations the diplomacy of france Has Been disinterested, and friendly to Greece. It is not the Case with the Wellington Administration whose Hostility to foreign liberty, and every where to the Right of Equality, Generally, and justly imputed to England, is By that Cabinet Carried as far as Circumstances Can allow it. Yet Such is the Slow But Universal Current towards Liberalism, that every Government must more or less Go along with it, or Be altogether insecure, alarmed, and Execrated. Wellington Himself altho’ He Endeavours to Controul the limits of Grecian Emancipation and freedom Has Been obliged to assist in the operations favourable to their partial independence.

The presidential Question is Now at Rest. altho’ there Has Been on Both Sides a much greater profusion of Abuse than was necessary to the proper and full exercise of investigation into the character and Conduct of Candidates to office, I Hope the attention of all parties to the affairs of the Country will take their Usual Run and once more Belye the observations and Hopes of Anti Republicans in the Monarchical Hemisphere.

I find Myself in an Awkward Situation With Respect to a most Gratifying Mark of attention with which I Have Been Honoured By the legislature of Virginia. I don’t know How it Has first Escaped me, for I Regularly Receive, and attentively Read the Enquirer. the fact is that it is lately at the last message of Governor Giles that I Have Seen that the Year Before the legislature Had Been pleased to order the Sending of the two New Virginia Maps to Me, tho [ ] Has Been Received. I am making Enquiries, and Shall at all Events write to the Governor By the Next packet.

I Have writen to thomas Jefferson Randolph to Become a Subscriber to the publication of the Correspondence of our illustrious Beloved friend. Be pleased to inquire whether He Has Received my letter and let me know when the work will Come out. I possess Several letters directed to me the Copies of which I would forward did I not know that our friend Ever made Use of Copying [ ], or a double penned Contrivance to keep Copies of His letters. I also Believe He kept the letters He did receive, namely my own, among which there are Some that th. Jeff. Randolph might perhaps like to publish was it not from the fear to Commit me on this Side of the Atlantic. it is Against that fear that I want you totally to tranquillise Him. it is Quite Groundless, as Nothing of the kind, Situated as I am, Can injure me, While on the Contrary I Cannot But like to Have My Sentiments, motives, and Anticipations published to the world. that I am, and ever was A Republican, never more So than when in the year 92 I defended Against a faction and a Riot the Very popular Constitution Which the Sovereign and Continued will of the people Had Established, Every body knows, and very Sorry I Would Be to Have it Unknown. this Concern of mine I put in your friendly Hands.

I Beg You to present my most affectionate Respects to mrs Madison, to Your Respected mother, to Your Relations and other friends. mrs. Mayo and Her daughters are in paris. It is to me a Great Gratification with them to talk of montpellier. my Son Begs to be Respectfully Remembered. le Vasseur Has left me to Be a partner in a thriving Book Seller firm. I know He intends to Avail Himself of that change of Situation to publish Some Notes on my late American Visit which proper motives of delicacy Had Hitherto Made him keep to Himself. you will Approve me to Have Remained a perfect Stranger to the Work, no part of which Has Even Been Submitted to my perusal. Besides motives of modesty, and Unwillingness to Assume Any Sort of Responsibility for His observations (Which Cannot fail However to Be friendly and Grateful, if deficient in point of information, and even on that point He will, I understand, Submit it to friends in philadelphia) my Grave objection to my Having Any thing to do with it is that it Cannot Comprehend All my obligations, each of which is Engraved in my Heart, and I would Be Very Sorry that Any omission might be imputed to me.

I must now close this letter With me telling You that Having Been informed a package had Been shipped for me, I did make Every possible Enquiry, without Success. I am going to write again to Havre and to Newyork. So there we must let the matter Rest untill I Hear from Havre and then I shall write to the governor. adieu, my dear Madison Your affectionate friend


Let me know of the direction and prospects of Mrs Randolph and family.

RC (MB).

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