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Madison, James (1751-1836) to John Brown

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01742.02 Author/Creator: Madison, James (1751-1836) Place Written: Montpelier, Virginia Type: Letter signed Date: 15 May 1835 Pagination: 3 p. ; 25 x 20 cm.

Summary of Content: Sends Brown, a former Kentucky senator, a copy of letter from Madison to Mann Butler. The copy, dated 11 October 1834, provides a recollection of the 1788 correspondence between Madison and Brown regarding Spain's efforts to get Kentucky to become an independent state. It also attests to the friendship between Madison and Brown and directs Butler, who was writing about the period, to other sources.

Background Information: Signer of the U.S. Constitution.

Full Transcript: Montpellier 15. May 1835.
Dear Sir
I have just received the enclosed letter returned to me from Richmond to which I had directed it, taking for granted that it would either find ...Mr. Butler there, where his letter to me was dated, or follow him, according to an arrangement for the purpose.
I am very sorry for the occurrence as my supposed silence might be misconstrued- I enclose also a Copy of the letter, that you may know its contents without breaking the seal. Accept my dear Sir my friendly recollections and cordial salutations.
James Madison



Mr. John Brown

[2] (Copy.)
Montpelier October 11.1834
Dear Sir
I have received your letter of the Ult: in which you wish to obtain my recollection of what passed between Mr. John Brown and me in 1788, on the overture of Gardoqui "that if the people of Kentucky would erect themselves into an independent State, and appoint a proper person to negotiate with him, he had authority for that purpose and would enter into an arrangement with them for the exportation of their produce to New Orleans."
My recollection, with which, references in my manuscript [inserted: papers] accord, leaves no doubt that the overture was communicated to me by Mr. Brown. Nor can I doubt, that, as stated by him, I expressed the opinion and apprehension, that a knowledge of it in Kentucky might in the excitements there- be mischievously employed. This view of the subject evidently resulted [struck: from] from the nocturnal and known impatience of the people on the waters of the Mississippi for a market for the products of their exuberant soil, from the distrust of the Federal policy produced by the project for surrendering the use of that river for a term of many years; and from a coincidence of the overture in point of time, with the plan on fast, for consolidating the Union by [struck: illegible] [inserted: arming] it, with new powers, an object, to embarass and defeat which the dismembering aims of Spain would not fail to make the most tempting sacrifices, and to spare no intrigues.
I owe it to Mr. Brown with whom I was in intimate friendship, when we were associated in public life, to observe that I always regarded him whilst steadily attentive to the interest of his constituents, as duly impressed with the importance of the Union and anxious for its prosperity.
Of the other particular enquiries in your letter my great age [3] now in its 84th year, and with more than the usual infirmities, will I hope absolve me from undertaking to speak, without more authoritative aids to my memory, than I can avail myself of. In what relates to Gen.l Wilkenson, official investigations in the archives of the War Department, and the files of Mr. Jefferson, must of course be among the important sources of the light you wish for.
It would afford me pleasure to aid the interesting work which occupies your pen, by materials worthy of it. But I know not that I could point to any which are not in print or in public offices, and which if not already known to you are accessible to your researches. I can only therefore wish for your historical task all the success which the subject merits, and which is promised by the qualifications ascribed to the author.
I regret the tardiness of this acknowledgment of your letter. My feeble condition and frequent interruptions are the apology, which I pray you to accept with my respects and my
cordial salutations


Mr. Mann Butler
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People: Madison, James, 1751-1836
Brown, John, 1757-1837

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: PresidentStatehoodGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGovernment and Civics

Sub Era: Age of Jackson

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