James Madison Papers

James Madison to Nicholas P. Trist, 18 January 1833

Montpr. Jany 18. 33

Dr. Sir

Yours of the 11th. was duly recd. I am sorry that you could not visit us at the intended time, and still more so for the obstacles to it. We shall look for you at the period you now have in view, with a hope that the trip on horseback will be as favorable to your health as it promises to be. I have not yet looked into the columns of the Gazette kindly enclosed to me, on the Bank transaction. I have indeed not gone much into the details of any of the prominent subjects under discussion at Washington, trusting to the result as decided by the public opinion.

It gives me pleasure to learn that a reaction is taking place in S. Carolina. Common sense, common good, and the universal protest, out of the State against nullification can not fail to break down the party which supports it. The coming generation will look back with astonishment at the infatuation which could produce the present state of things.

You see as quickly as I do, what is going on at Richmond. Among the diversi[fi]ed projects of the mediators, it is not certain wch. will prevail, and very possible that they may all sink together. It wd. seem that the doctrine of Secession is losing ground; but it has as yet more adherents than its twin heresy nullification, tho’ it ought to be buried in the same grave with it. Many seem to have lost sight of the great principle that compact is the basis and essence of free Govt. and that no right to disregard it belongs to a party till released from it by causes of which the other parties have an equal right to judge. In the event of an irreconcilable conflict, not of rights, but of opinions & claims of right, force becomes the arbiter.

I thank you for the obliging information you give me as recd. from Mr. Vail. It has been my wish to sell the undivided whole of the property referred to, on the presumption, that the House & lots, particularly the former, wd. suffer from a separation, and my conversation with Mr. Cutts when last with us, left him under that impression With affece. salutations

James Madison

RC (NjP); copy of RC? (owned by Henry N. Flynt, Greenwich, Conn.); draft (DLC).

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