James Madison Papers

James Madison to Frederick List, 3 February 1829

Feby. 3. 1829

I have recd. Sir your letter of Jany. 21. with the printed accompaniments; of which none can say less, than they contain able and interesting views of the doctrine they espouse. The more thorough the examination of t[he] question which relates to the encouragement of domestic manufactures, the more the true policy (until all nations make themselves commercially one nation[)] will be found to lie between the extremes of doing nothing & prescribing everything, between admitting no exception to the rule of "laissez faire", and converting the exceptions into the rule. The intermediate range for just legislative interposition will be more or less limited, according to the differing judgments of Statesmen and ought to be so, according to the aptitudes or inaptitudes of countries and situations for the particular objects claiming encouragement.

Having found it convenient, to adopt a rule which contracts my subscriptions of every sort, and for reasons strengthened by every day withdrawn from the scanty & uncertain remnants of life, I must deny myself the pleasure of adding my name to the list which patronizes, in that way, the work you contemplate; and which I doubt not will well repay the attention of readers who set a due value on the subjects to be investigated. That your knowledge of our language is not incompetent for the task is sufficiently shewn by specimens which place you among the foreigners who have studied the idioms of the Country with most success.

Draft (DLC).

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