MONROE, JAMES. 1758-1831.
Autograph Letter Signed as President ("James Monroe"), 3 1/2 pp recto and verso, 4to (conjoined leaves), Washington, July 9, 1821, inconspicuous restoration/re-tracing at folds with several words affected, bleed-through, a little dampstain near central fold.
Provenance: The Forbes Collection (sold Christie's, October 9, 2002, lot 50).
MONROE CONDEMNS INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL: "I Consider It My Duty to Take My Stand Against the Powers of the Federal Government." Monroe takes a strong stand, in the spirit of Jefferson, to oppose publicly funded improvements to the transportation system or indeed any internal improvements. This was a heady topic in the years following the close of the War of 1812 when American trade and technology was advancing rapidly. Monroe had recently won his second term as President and here mentions he is writing a position paper on the topic. In part, he promises "perfect simplicity and candour ... soon after I came into this office, I considered it my duty, to take my stand against the powers of the general government in regard to internal improvements: that I declared in a message to Congress, that I did not think that it possess'd that power, & that I should be compelled to refuse my assent to any bill founded on that principle." He notes that he has corresponded with James Madison and has prepared a statement to be included in his third annual address (later decided against). "I have been guided by principle only, aided by my own experience and observations, and by the lights which virtuous & enlightened men have shed on it."