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Monroe, James (1758-1831) Autograph Letter Signed, Washington, D.C., 16 December 1815.

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Books & Manuscripts - 2950B
Date / Time :
October 30, 2016 11:00AM


Monroe, James (1758-1831) Autograph Letter Signed, Washington, D.C., 16 December 1815. Folio bifolium inscribed densely over two and a half pages. To Charles Everett, regarding the likelihood of his election to the presidency. Expertly silked, minor loss to head and foot of each leaf, repaired, very good, housed in a custom half morocco case, 10 x 7 3/4 in.
"Dear Sir, I expect to forward with this, the copy of the paper which I lately promised. You will communicate it in confidence to Judge Boone, & to him only, as it would be very improper that I should take any step at this time, to conciliate any one to the course of policy which I have proposed, or to make any explanations as to any part of it. My public life ought to speak for itself, and for the last five or 6 years, if the war thru which the country has passed, and the burdens I have bourne, are not sufficient proofs, in connection with all that preceded, of my claim to public confidence, nothing will be.
I know that Judge Boone's opinion is for it, & therefore, as an old friend, I show him this paper, as I will any other that I have. He will see that I acted independently in all things, and altho' very friendly to certain persons, was so on principle. I wish him to receive it in confidence. Return it as soon as you can.
Your letter of the 12 I rec'd yesterday by Judge Nelson. After the election of the present Executive Incumbent [James Madison], there was no remedy but in public opinion, and that was sure to be more effectual, in the case that my nearest friends manifested no sensibility to it. An attack on him by them, would give him a consequence to which neither his talents or any other circumstance in his favor, merited. His re-election according to the mass of the State, followed of course, if by some overt act, he did not bring public indignation on him, which his silent, underhand, night-moving practice render'd improbable. The stand gave to him & his associates immense advantages in the procuring of their object, and it has, doubtless, been turned to all the account of which it was susceptible. The trip of Giles to the East, and of others in other States to different parts of the Nation, were harmonious cooperatory movements to the same end. All that they have been able to do is done, but yet in a manner not to be seen. I have no doubt that promises have been made that Virg[ini]a. would not only take no part in my favor, but abstain from participation in the coming vote heretofore practic'd. Of this you see a proof, in the last number of the New York Patriot, a paper said to be edited by Judge Spencer, Armstrong, J. Barker, & Workman. My own opinion always has been that, after the advantage they had gained, there was no remedy but in public opinion, or in other words, that no attack ought to be made on Nicholas, with a view to prevent his re-election. I think that his disposition would have done injury in the other States, not by any might he has there, or any where, but as appearing to be an act of persecution, on acct. of his hostility to me.
Mr. Tazewill was in New York this summer, and held a Congress, which comprised some of my friends there. He said that he was personally friendly to me, had always been, &cc, but that &c. This friend who communicated with, did not understand him. I have always confided in him, and shd. be very sorry to suspect that his projected trip was to promote unfriendly purposes to me. Yet it may be. The danger is of making enemies, of friends, or affording, under public patronage, opportunities to enemies to do harm. I give you the above hint, in profound confidence, to be mention'd to no one. My private opinion is that the proposed arrangement is so contemplated by the Richmond parties for the purpose of intrigue, yet that Tazewill w[oul]d not answer their views, that heretofore dissatisfied in some things.
Dr. Bible of Georgia has assur'd me that Georgia has long since made up her mind in my favor; that Mr. Crawford knows & approves it: the same is stated of Kentucky & Tennessee, in relation to persons of merit in each. I take no part, nor will I, as is well known, being resolv'd, if the nation does elect me, that the election shall be due to it, without the slightest movement of my own. Others here can give you better intelligence than I can, of the general sentiment.
My opinion is that Virg[ini]a ought to take no prominent part in the business. Mr. Nelson inform'd me lately that some persons at Richmond thought of holding a caucus there to lead public opinion in my favor. This surely can not be thought of by my friends. If the idea has occur'd, I suspect it originated with my enemies, in the hope, be the results what it might, of injuring. If for example the whole assembly met, & declared in my favor, it would give offence to & alienate other States. If a small vote was given, much noise took place, & confusion, it would operate against me by showing that my support in Virg[ini]a was futile. Virg[ini]a had therefore better do nothing of the kind, but act after others, & according to her judgment & interest. Your friend, Jas. Monroe"
Provenance: The Estate of David Spinney.
Estimate $3,000-5,000

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James Madison, Charles Everett, Boone, Nelson, Spencer, Incumbent, Tazewill, Bible, Washington, D.C.