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The Papers of James Madison
1 November 1806–31 March 1807, with a Supplement, Madison’s “Notes on Salkeld,” [1783–1786]Secretary of State Series, Volume 13
James Madison. Edited by Tyson Reeder, J. C. A. Stagg, Anne Mandeville Colony, Ellen D. Goldlust, Mary K. Wigge, and Katharine E. Harbury
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Secretary of State James Madison grappled with conflicts in both Europe and the American West during the period included in this volume. Diplomats James Monroe and William Pinkney recorded some breakthroughs in their negotiations with Great Britain, but a new anti-British policy from France, the Berlin Decree, complicated progress. Britain responded with an order-in-council, and US neutral commerce became more precarious than it had been since the 1802–3 Peace of Amiens. After the two US representatives reached agreement with British negotiators on what became known as the Monroe-Pinkney Treaty, Madison helped President Thomas Jefferson assess its merits and determine whether to submit it to the Senate for advice and consent. To secure French Catholics’ loyalty to the United States, Madison reluctantly intervened in a dispute over the Roman Catholic Church’s episcopal authority over the Louisiana diocese when he feared that Napoleon had overstepped his boundaries. The Jefferson administration escalated its interest in former vice president Aaron Burr’s suspicious activities in the West, resulting in Burr’s arrest in early 1807. Madison played an integral role in the investigation and apprehension of Burr, maintaining a correspondence with governors of western territories and government agents charged with probing and countering Burr’s nebulous plans. The supplement contains notes that Madison took as he attempted to read law during the 1780s. The document, which is misfiled among Thomas Jefferson’s papers at the Library of Congress, represents the only surviving set of legal notes made by Madison.
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