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DEAR SIR, After being detained 8 or ten days beyond the intended commencement of my journey by the critical illness of my mother, I am now subjected to a further delay by an attack on my own health, and shall be under the necessity not only of remaining here a few days longer, but of travelling afterwards with some circumspection.
You will probably have seen by the papers that the contest in the Assembly on the subject of the amendments ended in the loss of them. The House of Delegates got over the objections to the llth and 12th, but the Senate revised them with an addition of the 3d and 8th Articles, and by a vote of adherence prevented a ratification. On some accounts this event is no doubt to be regretted, but it will do no injury to the GEN'L Gov c . On the contrary, it will have the effect with many of turning their distrust towards their own Legislature. The miscarriage of the 3d Article, particularly, will have this effect.
A few days before I was allowed to set out for New York, I took a ride to Monticello. The answer of Mr. Jefferson to the notification of his appointment will no doubt have explained the state of his mind on that subject. I was sorry to find him so little biassed in favor of the domestic serv.e allotted to him, but was glad that his difficulties seemed to result chiefly from what I take to be an erroneous view of the kind and quantity of business annexed to that which constitutes the foreign Department. He apprehends that it -will far exceed the latter, which has, of itself, no terrors to him. On the other, it was supposed, and I believe truly, that the Domestic part will be very trifling, and for that reason improper to be made a distinct Department. After all, if the whole business can be executed by any one man, Mr. Jefferson must be equal to it; if not, he will be relieved by a necessary division of it. All whom I have heard speak on the subject are remarkably solicitous for his acceptance, and I flatter myself that they will not, in the final event, be disappointed.
In case I should be detained here much longer than I calculate, and anything should occur, I may trouble you with a few lines further.
- James Madison