James Madison Papers

Joseph C. Cabell to James Madison, 29 January 1829

Richmond. Jan. 29. 1829.

Dear Sir.

I have deferred answering your favor of the 5th inst. much longer than I intended because my time of late has been much engrossed by the concluding duties of my public service. I return you heartfelt thanks for your opinion relative to the basis of Representation, which will have the greatest weight with me in shaping my course on the very important subject to which it relates. The Bill is now before the Senate. I think we shall amend it by substituting district in place of County representation. I think there is no doubt of its passage in one shape or the other. The letters in reply to yours, which are coming out in the Enquirer are from the pen of Mr. Giles, and are worthy of their author. They will have some effect, no doubt, with a certain class of persons, but the best answer to such ribaldry is silence. They disgust all the dignified part of the community. Another set of letters, copied from the Norfolk Herald, will soon appear in the Enquirer. They are said to be written by Mr. Tazewell, and are represented to be superior to the former. Your letters have produced and are producing the greatest effects. My nephew lately went to Washington, & brings me from Mr. Wirt & Mr. Gales the assurance that nothing could be more strong than the influence of these letters both at the City and thro’ the nation. They have been extensively circulated in the pamphlet form. I am now treating with a printer here to strike off 5000 Copies in the pamphlet form to circulate thro this State. Mr. Giles & his party have had the imprudence to urge the House of Delegates to act on the Georgia Resolutions. They doubtless calculate on the number of committed persons in the Legislature. The Resolutions may pass the House of Delegates. But they will be rejected or laid on the table in the Senate. I think this may be safely stated. I am informed that the Anti Tariff party intend to make quotations from Yates’s Report of the proceedings of the Convention, to prove that you or the Convention are committed ag[s]t. the Tariff power. I presume the Report in question is very imperfect. You will see that Mr. Giles harps upon your deriving power from two clauses in the Constitution united, and upon your substitution of the word trade for commerce. The money raising clause is essentially necessary to execute most of the specific grants in the Constitution, and I see no force in the objection. That respecting the word trade is merely hypercritical. It seems stranger to me to make the words common defense & general welfare words of limitation. And the omission, of those words & of the uniformity of duties in yr. quotation was no way connected with the merits of the question. But who can expect to meet the innumerable suggestions of this hoary sophist. It is a source of no small consolation to me to see the progress of truth upon this subject. Yet you may expect to see the greatest exertions to overthrow the reasoning in your letters. The University Report has just made its appearance. I send you a copy by this mail. Nothing I fear can be done for the University in any shape, and I believe it the part of prudence to bring nothing forward. The South Carolina Resolutions have just reached us. They are concise & moderate. That you may enjoy health and uninterrupted happiness is the fervent wish, dear Sir, of yrs. most respectfully & truly

Jos: C: Cabell

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

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