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TO G. WYTHE.

MONTICELLO, Janpary 22 1797. It seems probable that I will be called on to preside in a legislative chamber. It is now so long sincn I have acted in the legislative line, that I am entirely rusty in the Parliamentary rules of procedure. I know they have been more studied and are better known by you than by any man in America, perhaps by any man living. I am in hopes that while inquiring into the subject you made notes on it. If any such remain in your hands, however informal, in books or in scraps of paper, and you will be so good as to trust me with them a little while, they shall be most faithfully returned. If they lie in small compass they might come by post, without regard to expense. If voluminous, Mr. Randolph will be passing through Richmond on his way from Varina to this place about the 10th of February, and could give them a safe conveyance. Did the Assembly do anything for the preservation by publication of the laws? With great affection, adieu.

TO JOHN LANGDON.

MONTICELLO, January 22, 1797. DEAR SIR,— Your friendly letter of the 2d instant, never came to hand till yesterday, and I feel myself indebted for the solicitude you therein express for my undertaking the office to which you inform me I am called. I know not from what source an idea has spread itself, which I have found to be generally spread, that I would accept the office of President of the United States, but not of Vice President. When I retired from the office I last held, no man in the Union less expected than I did, ever to have come forward again ; and, whatever has been insinuated to the contrary, to no man in the Union was the share which my name bore in the late contest, more unexpected than it was to me. If I had contemplated the thing beforehand, and suffered my

TO HENRY TAZEWELL.

MONTICELLO, Jannary 16, 1797. DEAR SIR,—As far as the public papers are to be credited, I may suppose that the choice of Vice President has fallen on me. On this hypothesis I trouble you, and only pray, if it be wrong, that

you will consider this letter as not written. I believe it belongs to the Senate to notify the Vice President of his election. I recollect to have heard, that on the first election of President and Vice President, gentlemen of considerable office were sent to notify the parties chosen. But this was the inauguration of our new government, and ought not to be drawn into example. At the second election, both gentlemen were on the spot and needed no messengers. On the present occasion, the President will be on the spot, so that what is now to be done respects myself alone; and considering that the season of notification will always present one difficulty, that the distance in the present case adds a second, not inconsiderable, and which may in future happen to be sometimes much more considerable, I hope the Senate will adopt that method of notification, which will always be least troublesome and most certain. The channel of the post is certainly the least troublesome, is the most rapid, and, considering also that it may be sent by duplicates and triplicates, is unquestionably the most certain. Indorsed to the postmaster at Charlottesville, with an order to send it by express, no hazard can endanger the notification. Apprehending, that should there be a difference of opinion on this subject in the Senate, my ideas of self-respect might be supposed by some to require something more formal and inconvenient, I beg leave to avail myself of your friendship to declare, if a different proposition should make it necessary, that I consider the channel of the post-office as the most eligible in every respect, and that it is to me the most desirable; which I take the liberty of expressing, not with a view of encroaching on the respect due to that discretion which the Senate have a right to exercise on the occasion, but to render them the more free 'in the exercise of it, by taking off whatsoever weight the supposition of a contrary desire in me might have on the mind of any member.

I am, with sincere respect, dear Sir, your friend and servant.

TO JAMES MADISON.

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MONTICELLO, January 22. 1797. DEAR SIR,-Yours of the 8th came to hand yesterday. I was not aware of any necessity of going on to Philadelphia immediately, yet I had determined to do it, as a mark of respect to the public, and to do away the doubts which have spread, that I should consider the second office as beneath my acceptance. The journey, indeed, for the month of February, is a tremendous undertaking for me, who have not been seven miles from home since my re-settlement. I will see you about the rising of Congress; and presume I need not stay there a week. Your letters written before the 7th of February will still find me here. My letters inform me that Mr. Adams speaks of me with great friendship, and with satisfaction in the prospect of administering the government in concurrence with me. I am glad of the first information, because though I saw that our ancient friendship was affected by a little leaven, produced partly by his constitution, partly by the contrivance of others, yet I never felt a diminution of confidence in his integrity, and retained a solid affection for him. His principles of government I knew to be changed, but conscientiously changed. As to my participating in the administration, if by that he meant the executive cabinet, both duty and inclination will shut that door to me. I cannot have a wish to see the scenes of 1793 revived as to myself, and to descend daily into the arena like a gladiator, to suffer martyrdom in every conflict. As to duty, the Constitution will know me only as the member of a legislative body; and its principle is, that of a separation of legislative, executive and judiciary functions, except in cases specified. If this principle be not expressed in direct

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VOL. IV.

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terms, yet it is clearly the spirit of the Constitution, and it ought to be so commented and acted on by every friend to free government.

I sincerely deplore the situation of our affairs with France. War with them, and consequent alliance with Great Britain, will completely compass the object of the executive council, from the commencement of the war between France and England ; taken up by some of them from that moment, by others, more latterly. I still, however, hope it will be avoided. I do not believe Mr. Adams wishes war with France ; nor do I believe he will truckle to England as servilely as has been done. If he assumes this front at once, and shows that he means to attend to self-respect and national dignity with both the nations, perhaps the depredations of both on our commerce may be amicably arrested. I think we should begin first with those who first began with us, and, by an example on them, acquire a right to re-demand the respect from which the other party has departed.

I suppose you are informed of the proceeding commenced by the legislature of Maryland, to claim the south branch of the Potomac as their boundary, and thus of Albemarle, now the central county of the State, to make a frontier. As it is impossible, upon any consistent principles, and after such a length of undisturbed possession, that they can expect to establish their claim, it can be ascribed to no other than an intention to irritate and divide; and there can be no doubt from what bow the shaft is shot. However, let us cultivate Pennsylvania, and we need not fear the universe. The Assembly have named me among those who are to manage this controversy. But I am so averse to motion and contest, and the other members are so fully equal to the business, that I cannot undertake to act in it. I wish you were added to them. Indeed, I wish and hope you may consent to be added to our Assembly itself. There is no post where you can render greater services, without going out of your State. Let but this block stand firm on its basis, and Pennsylvania do the same, our Union will be perpetual, and our General Government kept within the bounds and form of the Constitution. Adieu affectionately.

TO G. WYTHE.

MONTICELLO, Jandary 22 1797. It seems probable that I will be called on to preside in a leg. islative chamber. It is now so long since I have acted in the legislative line, that I am entirely rusty in the Parliamentary rules of procedure. I know they have been more studied and are better known by you than by any man in America, perhaps by any man living. I am in hopes that while inquiring into the subject you made notes on it. If any such remain in your hands, however informal, in books or in scraps of paper, and you will be so good as to trust me with them a little while, they shall be most faithfully returned. If they lie in small compass they might come by post, without regard to expense. If voluminous, Mr. Randolph will be passing through Richmond on his way from Varina to this place about the 10th of February, and could give them a safe conveyance. Did the Assembly do anything for the preservation by publication of the laws? With great affection, adieu.

TO JOHN LANGDON.

MONTICELLO, January 22, 1797. Dear Sir,-Your friendly letter of the 2d instant, never came to hand till yesterday, and I feel myself indebted for the solicitude you therein express for my undertaking the office to which you inform me I am called. I know not from what source an idea has spread itself, which I have found to be generally spread, that I would accept the office of President of the United States, but not of Vice President. When I retired from the office I last held, no man in the Union less expected than I did, ever to have come forward again ; and, whatever has been insinuated to the contrary, to no man in the Union was the share which my name bore in the late contest, more unexpected than it was to me. If I had contemplated the thing beforehand, and suffered my

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