Mandeville, LA – We have had dozens of conversations on the Mike Church Show about the selfless service of Patriots like President James Monroe. You can read the story of Monroe dying deep in debt BECAUSE of the expenses he incurred serving the United States. Monroe was a man of character and principle on these matters as was his sometimes best friend and philosopher/mentor John Taylor of Caroline County.
I have talked many times about Taylor’s [r]epublicanism being the model, the beau ideal of the system and that is not hype. Witness Taylor’s farewell letter to Monroe, discussed on the Mike Church Show here, and Taylor’s vow to “remain in the [r]epublican minority” AFTER his pupil is elected President. In other words, if Monroe thinks he will have Taylor to make excuses for his anti-[r]epublican policies of ANY sort, he is mistaken. Notice the near religious faith Taylor has placed obedience to the system (the Constitution’s) spirit. People will inevitably say upon reading this tract “if only we had Statesmen like Taylor!” I say, imagine we had a CITIZENRY filled with men like Taylor! Even an Obama could be a restrained President in that system!
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31 January, 1811
To: Col. James Monroe
Governor of Virginia
Yours of the 23t. inst. reached me this day. I do not often obtrude my “unreserved sentiments” which you ask for, on any body; because on sometimes doing so, with the best intentions, I have lost a friend whom I would rather have kept. But as you ask for them, you will not have the excuse of my taking an unreasonable liberty, for inflicting on me that calamity. I shall therefore make the most of the privilege you ask of me. Indeed your having borne philosophically the letter advising you to withdraw from the competition for the presidency (calculated very well as every body will allow to inspire resentment) induces me to think that I may venture in my correspondence with you, to express my own opinions, without being cruelly punished for it.
You will probably lose your affiliation with the administration party, however guarded such of the republican minority, as possess a personal dislike for the men in power; and you will also lose the simpering of federalism for having crossed its intention. This is guess work with me however, for upon my faith, though I belong to this republican minority, and probably always shall, the ligaments which tie its members together are quite unknown to me; and therefore I am unable to discover, whether you have broken them, or how I shall myself avoid breaking them. I do not think I break them by approving as I most heartily do of your having taken the office you now hold. You can serve your country and follow your conscience in that office, and how either should offend the republican minority, I can’t see. If indeed you should get the presidency as I hope you will one day or another, it would probably be an irreparable breach with the republican minority, should any such party then exist; because you must in some measure suffer yourself to be taken in tow by an administration party; and I do not recollect in the history of mankind a single instance of such a party being republican. Should I live to see that day, I hereby give you notice, that you are not to infer from my espousing your election, that I will join a party yell in favor of your administration; No, no, the moment you are elected, though by my casting vote, carried an hundred miles in a snow storm, my confidence in you would be most confoundedly deminished, and I would instantly join again the republican minority. I would however no more suppress a coincidence, than a difference of opinion, with my administration. But as I can never be brought to believe, that the monarchical principle of our constitution is a good guardian for the republican, and as it will always pretend to be so, it follows of course, that I am destined to live and die a republican minority man.
If indeed you should get the presidency as I hope you will one day or another, it would probably be an irreparable breach with the republican minority, should any such party then exist; because you must in some measure suffer yourself to be taken in tow by an administration party; and I do not recollect in the history of mankind a single instance of such a party being republican.
For such a man your letter to Johnson would make a very good creed, and such a man cannot therefore quarrel with yon for writing it. Its amount is that you will approve and disapprove of the acts of the government according to your conscience. This is the sum total of what I understand by minority republicanism. Majority republicanism is inevitably, widely (but not thoroughly) corrupted with ministerial republicanism, and it is also tinctured with the folly of certain sympathies, towards strong parties, popularity, and noise. Now the business and view of a true minority man is to unveil ministerial republicanism, and to awaken honest majority republicanism, when it is riding with its eyes shut directly from its own object, on one of these jack asses. Nor have I written or said any thing with any other view. In the same design I wished to see you engaged, as both leading to the presidency, and providing a national temper to control you, if you reached it.
“What is all this profession to me” say you. “I wanted your opinion of my political conduct, not an avowal of your wild notions. ”
I will tell you. An explanation of my notions is an explicit answer to your inquiry. Call not what I say, profession. Look at my private letters to yourself. You will see in them attempts to soften your resentments; you will find I think unequivocal opinions in favour of your taking an office; and you will not meet I think with anything which will prove that this letter ill accords with the tenor of my former conduct.
As to your shewing the letters you wrote to me, or even the answers, I had not the least objection to it. I think I understood before the assembly met, that you had shewn them to two of your friends, but I did not consider this as releasing me from your inhibition to do the same. However, after having learnt that they were shewn in Richmond, I thought it would accord with your wishes, to shew them to Mr: James Garnett, and I mean to shew them also to Doctor Bankhead, when he recovers of an indisposition with which he is now afflicted.
Your friends in Washington before they heard of your late appointment, were, in my opinion, about to do a foolish thing. It was meditated to start the Spirit of ’76 as a professed party paper to enter upon a contest between yourself and Genl. Armstrong for the presidency. I have not heard how your late election has operated on the design. My plan, which I have striven unsuccessfully to effect, was to start that paper upon broad and liberal ground—to write it into circulation—and to get it into a state for being read before it was trusted with any important object. Such a paper would have ten times the effect of a party paper. Had you and Mr: Madison changed newspapers, it would have changed a multitude of votes. My opinion is that these gentlemen having defeated me will speedily defeat themselves, and that a paper which might have been gradually made very useful, will perish.
I am sorry that Mr. Randolph was hurt as you suppose by exaggerated reports, and I wish heartily I knew of any [way?] of moderating a little several of his warm impressions, without giving him pain. In Mr: Jefferson’s administration, I differed with him in a great deal he said and did, and in some instances expressed that difference freely to a mutual friend. But I should be very sorry to see him become an administration republican. Surely any executive ought to be satisfied with a majority of ministers in Congress, and willing to allow a minority of ministers to the people, to watch and check it, since the constitution designed the whole Congress for this office. In discharging it I wish Randolph was more temperate, and I wish also that his high honor and eminent talents, had produced more moderation on the part of the administrationalists towards him. It was enough to make him feel a little bitter, that his noble opposition to the Yazoo fraud, and honest conduct on a grand jury, should have been the true springs of his political disparagement, and I fear a personal caustick was applied to this tenderness, which would almost justify a little phrenzy. I have no pretence for approaching him on the subject of your letter, but as you think he had been imposed on by report, justice to yourself, and his former friendship towards you, seem to be good reasons for your endeavoring to remove the delusion.
If this letter does not completely lay open my mind to you, on your stating any doubts, I will strive to remove them, and be assured that I am sincerely (under the exception aforesaid after you get to be president, according to its true interpretation), your friend, &c.