James Madison Papers

Edward Livingston to James Madison, 29 April 1830

Washington 29 Apl 1830.

Dear Sir

You can not have been unobservant of the frequent use which has been made of your name and your authority as well as of those of Mr. Jefferson in a late debate in the Senate it was my opinion as well from my personal knowledge of your sentiments as from the best construction I could put upon your writings that an unwarrantable attempt was made to cover dangerous doctrines and give them currency under the authority of your name and I regret to see that the artifice has been in some sort successful republican members of the Senate and the Editors of republican papers have without due examination identified the modern doctrine of a state veto with that for which I had the honor of contending and at a long interval following you in 179[8]– – I endeavoured to expose this fallacy, but I unfortunately stand alone among the speakers on that subject, and I do not doubt that I am considered by many as entertaining heretical opinions for my strict adherence to those which I considered as sanctioned both by yours and Mr Jeffersons, but which I am sure were those I then entertained and have seen no reason since to change.

I might have presumed upon your remembrance of our old associations to have sent you the Copy of my Speech, but I should scarcely have imposed upon you the trouble of reading it, if it were not for the considerations I have stated, and I confess too that I am anxious to know whether it is possible that I have been mistaken and to have a communication from you on the subject with or without liberty to have the whole or any part of it made public. A suggestion I should not have taken the liberty to make but for the influence which the use of your name has I know had in giving currency to doctrines which I am perfectly persuaded you never taught.

Be so obliging as to call me to the recollection of Mrs. Madison in terms that will express my highest respect and Esteem, and believe me to be ever with the same sentiments. Your Mo Obd Serv

Edw Livingston

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

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