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TO JAMES MADISON, ESQ. [SR.]
HON D Sm, Having written a letter and enclosed it with a large collection of newspapers for you, which was to have been carried by Mr. J. Smith, but which I have now put into the hands of Captain Walker, whose return will be quicker, little remains for me to add here.
Our anxiety on account of the West India news, published at New York, is still supported by contradictory reports and conjectures. The account, however, to which Rodney's name is prefixed, renders our apprehensions too strong for our hopes. Rivington has been very bold in several of his spurious publications, and at this conjuncture might venture as far to serv.a particular turn as at any. But it is scarcely credible that he would dare or be permitted to sport with so high an official name.
If Mr. Jefferson will be so obliging as to superintend the legal studies of William, I think he cannot do better than prosecute the plan he has adopted. The interruption occasioned by the election of Mr. J., although inconvenient in that respect, is by no means a decisive objection against it.
I did not know before that the which Mr. Walker was to have carried last fall had met with the fate which it seems they did. I shall be more cautious hereafter. The papers missing in your list were, I presume, for I do not recollect, contained in them.
If Continental money passes here at all, it is in a very small quantity, at very great discount, and merely to serve particular local and temporary ends.
It has at no time been more difficult for me to fix my probable return to Virginia. At present all my colleagues have left Congress except Colonel Bland, and it is a crisis which calls for a full representation from every State. Anxious as I am to visit my friends, as long as I sustain a public trust I shall feel a principle which is superior to it.
- James Madison