James Madison Papers

James Madison to Henry Lee, 3 March 1834

Montpr. March 3, 1834


Your letter of Novr. 14. came safely tho’ tardily to hand.

I must confess that I perceive no ground, on which a doubt could be applied to the Statement of Mr. Jefferson which you cite. Nor can it I think, be difficult to account for my declining an Executive appointment under Washington and accepting it under Jefferson, without making it a test of my comparative attachment to them; and without looking beyond the posture of things at the two epochs.

The part I had borne, in the origin and adoption of the Constitution, determined me at the outset of the Govt. to prefer a seat in the House of Representatives; as least exposing me to the imputation of selfish views; and where, if any where, I could be of service in sustaining the Constitution agst the party adverse to it. It was known to my friends when making me a candidate for the Senate, that my choice was the other branch of the Legislature. Having commenced my Legislative Career as I did, I thought it most becoming to proceed under the original impulse to the end of it; and the rather as the Constn: in its progress, was encountering trials of a new sort, in the formation of new Parties, attaching adverse constructions to it.

The Crisis at which I accepted the Executive appointment under Mr. Jefferson is well known. My Connection with it, and the part I had borne in promoting his election to the Chief Magistracy, will explain my yielding to his pressing desire that I should be a member of his Cabinet

I hope you received the copies of your father’s letters to me which were duly forwarded; and I am not without a hope, that you will have been enabled to comply with my request of Copies of mine to him. With friendly salutations

J. M

P.S. Since the above was written, your letter of Jany 14. has arrived from the P. Office. The page addressed to your brother will be forthwith forwarded to him.

James Madison to Charles Carter Lee, Mar. 1834

Mar. .1834

Dear Sir

The inclosed has just been recd. from your brother. It leaves me nothing to add but a hope that an early attention to its object will not be inconvenient, and a tender of my cordial respects & salutations.

J. M.

Draft (DLC).

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