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Important letter twice-signed by James Madison as Secretary of State, regarding a change in payment terms for the Louisiana Purchase. Dated 8 February 1804, Madison writes to James Sheafe, former Federalist Senator from New Hampshire, who, with other Federalists of New England, briefly considered secession from the United States due to the loss of northern power following the Louisiana Purchase. Madison responds to Sheafe's letter (not present) regarding payment for the Louisiana Purchase. Letter reads in full,

''Sir, In answer to your letter of the 13th ult. I have to inform you, that instructions have been transmitted to Paris calculated to promote a modification, if possible, of the Convention of the 30th of April last, so as to divide the sum payable under it more equally among the claims, than may happen from its operation in its present form...[signed] James Madison''.

When James Monroe and Robert Livingston were dispatched to Paris for negotiations to purchase New Orleans, they were authorized by President Thomas Jefferson to pay $10 million for the city. They quickly agreed, however, to Napoleon's $15 million offer not only for New Orleans, but for a 828,000 square mile swath of territory extending up into Canada, doubling the size of the United States. The question then became how to pay for it. The United States put a down payment of $3 million in gold, with the remainder financed in bonds. It appears from this letter that the payment terms of the bonds were being negotiated nearly a year later by the United States. Sheafe's interest in the purchase likely came from the Federalist desire to void it as a valid Treaty.

Single page measures 8'' x 10'' on bifolium stationery, with Madison's additional free franked signature on second leaf, serving as an integral address panel. Glassine tape repair along folds, and some paper loss at top of address panel from opening. Overall in good to very good condition, housed in a custom clamshell case with marbled boards, one-fifth leather and gilt tooling spine on spine with raised bands.
James Madison Letter Twice-Signed as Secretary of State, Regarding a Change in Payment Terms for the Louisiana Purchase -- ''instructions...to Paris...to promote a modification, if possible''James Madison Letter Twice-Signed as Secretary of State, Regarding a Change in Payment Terms for the Louisiana Purchase -- ''instructions...to Paris...to promote a modification, if possible''James Madison Letter Twice-Signed as Secretary of State, Regarding a Change in Payment Terms for the Louisiana Purchase -- ''instructions...to Paris...to promote a modification, if possible''James Madison Letter Twice-Signed as Secretary of State, Regarding a Change in Payment Terms for the Louisiana Purchase -- ''instructions...to Paris...to promote a modification, if possible''
James Madison Letter Twice-Signed as Secretary of State, Regarding a Change in Payment Terms for the Louisiana Purchase -- ''instructions...to Paris...to promote a modification, if possible''
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