James Madison Papers

[Alexander Rives] to James Madison, 28 December 1832

Charlottesville— 28th Decr. 1832

My Dear Sir,

I take the liberty of thus obtruding on your notice two fugitive newspaper Essays, in which I have attempted to vindicate the distinguished state papers, which your pen gave to Virginia in one of the most lowering periods of our Constitutional history and which have since been adopted as the articles of her political faith, from the imputation of the disorganising doctrine of a right of peaceable secession. The alarming character of the impending crisis, makes it necessary, that the opinions of the chief architect of our political systems should not be misconstrued or perverted to sinister purposes, and in attempting to effect this object in my limited, and humble sphere, I have been actuated by no impulse of vain presumption, but rather by a desire to lay before my acquaintances some public evidences of what I conceived a fatal and insidious error.

I should be particularly happy to learn that I have not misconstrued your sentiments, or those of your co-adjutors in ’98 & ’99 and the succeeding Session.

As I have not the honour of a personal acquaintance with you, I yet hope to be excused for this trespass upon your retirement by my high appreciation of your public services, and the peculiar exigencies of my Country.

A Friend of Union and State Rights,

Alex Rives


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