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documents as well as issued separately, a statement in tabular form showing for reports of each office or institution the series number, period covered, and location in the collected documents and as a separate issue.

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The following letters from Spencer Roane (1762-1822) the Virginia jurist, son-in-law of Patrick Henry, are printed from the original manuscripts in the New York Public Library.




Yesterday the convention voted to ratify the constitution by a majority of ten. The Decision has been distressing & awful to great Numbers; & it is generally believed will be so received by the people. The minority is a very respectable one indeed, & made a most noble stand in defence of the liberties of the people. Mr. Henry has given exemplary proofs of his greatness, & in the opinion of many, of . his virtue. I have myself heard some touches of eloquence from him wch. wd. almost disgrace Cicero or Demosthenes. Matthews is chosen Speaker of the House of Delegates; and John Jones of the senate.

There is no rejoicing on Acct of the vote of ratification—it would not be prudent to do so; & the federalists behave with moderation and do not exult in their Success. I have not time to say more—and am

Dr Sir

Yr affte hble St.


[Addressed :) PHILIP AYLETT Esq.

King & Queen


[DECEMBER, 1815] judicious manner. It is said by some that a great national Seminary would tend to make us one people. As to general defence & external objects, let us be one people; but as to internal matters, it is unimportant how dissimilar we are ;-for we are a federal republic, a Confederation of distinct Sovereignties. It is better that we preserve the federal features of our government, than, even on the favorite subject of education, to pave the way to consolidation. Besides; how is this seminary to make our people national & homogeneous with one another, Is is not clear that only a few of the wealthy, can partake of the benefits of the institution. Excuse these few remarks. Believe me they are not peculiar to me; they are those of the best republicans. These measures appear to me to have passed the Rubicon. It is putting the ax to the root of the tree, & striking the first of a series of strokes, which is to demolish the edifice of the State Governments. But I hope I am mistaken.

I will not further trespass on your valuable time, by saying anything of the events passing here, you will be informed of them from better sources. I believe the old Dominion will be true to herself, at this juncture, and be as forward in taking measures to consolidate & preserve the blessings of peace as she was prompt & efficient in encountering the perils & dangers, of our late just & necessary war. I congratulate you most sincerely, on the eminent part you acted, in bringing that war to a happy conclusion.

Mrs. R. desires her best respects to Mrs. Munroe and Mrs. Hay; and I am, Dear Sir, with very great esteem & regard,

Your friend & obt. St.




RICHMOND JAN. 4, 1815 [sic, i. e. 1816]. DEAR SIR

I received your favour some short time since, and should have answered it sooner, but I heard you had left the City, &, besides, I had nothing to say. I even write you now, principally, to thank you for your communication & with a view to induce you to continue the correspondence. The legislature yesterday appointed General Mason your colleague in the senate. You will see from the papers that they bungled a good deal before they could effect it. Great hopes are entertained of him as a staunch & promising young man, and the steady services of his family in the cause of the people were not forgotten. I am not sure that I wd have preferred him to all others, but I flatter myself that he will distinguish himself & do honor to his Country. The legislature are beseiged with deputies from various unchartered banks in the upper country, praying for charters. They have taken the business of judging on this subject from the legislature, in defiance of a positive law, & now alledge the fact of their having done so, as a reason why their petition should be granted. It is thought that the H of Delegates will be in their favour, but that it will fail in the Senate. The state of the banks here is really dreadful, and the shavers are making great fortunes. We hear you are about to establish a national bank. That (if you have power to do it) or a national currency must be resorted to, or the Consequences cannot be foreseen or estimated: but this is out of my line & I am unacquainted with the subject.

I am pleased at yr. efforts to put the Chesapeake in a better state to be defended than it is at present. I see also that a naval depot is in contemplation to be established, it is said, in York river. If you can form an opinion, at present, I should like to know it, as to what will be the result on these subjects—specially the last which will be highly beneficial to the part of the Country in which I live. What place will be selected, & to what extent will the project be carried? You will see in the Enquirer of to-day Mr. Hay's Speech on the mandate question lately decided in the Court of appeals. The question is of great importance & I expect Congress must act on it, for the 25 § of the judicial act can never be enforced in Virginia. I am aware of your former impressions, on this subject: but no doubt you are open to conviction. The Court was unanimous & several judges & others have given up their first opinions. The opinion here seems pretty general in favour of the decision. If we have erred, we have erred with Plato & Socrates—for Mr. Jefferson is with us. I sent to my son with a request that he would shew it to you the opinion I delivered, & Mr. Jefferson's letter to me on the subject—the last was in confidence. As much time will elapse before the case is published I was induced to do this, as Wm. informed me sevl. gentlemen had expressed a wish to be informed on the subject. Congress will do what they please on the subject. Having done our duty on the occasion we care not for the consequences.

I shall be very glad to hear from you as often as you find convenient, & am with very great esteem & regard

Dear SirYr friend & St.

SPENCER ROANE. [Addressed :) The honble

James Barbour Esq
of the Senate




I was duly favoured with your letter, enclosing the remarks made by you, on the important question to which they relate. I am obliged by the communication. I have read the Speech with as much pleasure as I could any on that side of the question : but I regret to say, that I differ with you on the subject, & I have done so ever since 1795, at least when I considered the opposite doctrine to be that which was generally acceded to by the republicans. The subject is vast, & I shall not enter into it: but I consider it dangerous to expound the Constitution to extend the treaty making power as some gentlemen are disposed to extend it. As for confidence in the president & senate, while our present incumbents are eminently entitled to it, it cannot be forgotten that Burr had like to have been president, & that Gunn, Dayton & Co. WERE Senators! Confidence, I think, is not a plant of republican growth.

The republicans in the legislature will have a caucus for nominating electors, tomorrow or next day. I hope they will conduct themselves with caution & wisdom, at this critical time. I believe the opinion here will prevail to run M[onroe) (whatever is done at Washington) unless it will endanger the CAUSE & bring in a federalist. He is believed to be the man selected by the republicans & we do not wish to have him intrigued out of his pretensions. Speaking for myself, I put his claim, principally, on the ground of having chimed in with the present administration, & rendered great & meritorious services. I have just been consulted by a man of some weight, as to making Mr. Jefferson an elector. I declined an answer, but shd. not be surprised if he were brought forward. I know not how he would like it, or what bearing it might have on the election, in other states.

I have nothing else to communicate—at your leisure I shall be always glad to hear from you. Mrs. R. desires her respects to Miss Maria, & I am, Dear Sir,

Yr. friend & hble St.


[Addressed:] The honble James Barbour Esq

of the Senate




In all the conversations and correspondence which has lately taken place between us, I have made no mention to you, of the presidential election. This has arisen from no neutrality of sentiment or diminution of friendship. I am not sure from what cause it has arisen, unless it is from a laudable principle in me, carried to excess,-an unwillingness to do anything, which might seem like making my court to men in power. Though the circumstance is unimportant, I believe I have been wrong; & I owe it to the friendship with which you have honoured me, to speak to you as a friend. I had even rather you should suspect me of adulation, than doubt, for a moment, the solidity of my friendship

I congratulate you, then, most cordially, my dear Sir, on the certainty of your

being elevated to the first office, in the gift of a free people. It is the reward of a virtuous life, devoted to the service of your country; and is eminently honorable to you, as being entirely spontaneous on the part of the people. No intrigues or management has been used, or were necessary to obtain it. Sincerely wishing that your public life may continue to be useful & illustrious, and that your private days may pass down in peace, I am, Dear Sir, with the highest esteem & respect.

Yr friend & Servt





RICHMOND Ist Apl. 1816.

7 oclock p. m. DEAR SIR.

I was this morning highly gratified by the receipt of your favour of 30th ulto.

Believing that Mr. Hay is too much occupied to write you this evening I do myself the pleasure to inform you that he is elected this day very honorably -about 50 votes a head of the foremost.

Mrs. Roane desires her best respects to Mrs. Monroe & Mrs. Hay & I am Dear Sir

Yr friend & St.

SPENCER ROANE [Addressed:] The honble

James Monroe Esq




I have lately received from you two enclosures containing your speeches on the judiciary bill and the proposed amendment to the Constitution. I receive them as proofs of your friendly attention to me. I have read the speeches with great interest and pleasure, and concur with you on both subjects in omnibus.

As to the first speech I have had I believe some hand in getting it spread upon the columns of the Enquirer, and I have no doubt but it will find counter-part in the opinions of (at least) the Virginian people. While I would consent to gratify the elderly judges of the supreme Court, and support the federal judiciary within the states, in all its legitimate objects, I would not set up without necessity a batch

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