Lot 8: ALS as president, one page both sides, 7.5 x 9.75, February 20, 1817. Letter to Professor James Kidd, thanking him for books. In part: "I received some months ago your letter of 29th March last, with the books which accompanied it. I delayed an acknowledgement of those favors in the hope that I might find time to look into works, the subjects of which are so well calculated to excite attention. In this hope I have been disappointed by a crowd of public occupations greater than was foreseen. And as the Epoch approaches wh[en I s]hall exchange my public for a private character, I think it p[roper n]o longer to postpone my thanks for the enlightened reflections and friendly counsels addressed to me in the former. The warm interest you take in the welfare of my Country, augments greatly the obligations of which I am sensible. I have had no opportunity of seeing any of the persons to whom you refer, as among your American acquaintances, except Commodore Decatur. He recollects you well, and speaks of you in terms which would ensure the respect due to your character." In fine condition, with trimmed edges, professionally flattened intersecting folds, and an area of expertly repaired circular paper loss affecting a few words (transcribed in brackets). Provenance: The Everett Fisher Collection.Written less than two weeks before concluding his term as president, this letter offers a wonderful glimpse into Madison's sense of duty to the nation—he was so busy tending to matters of the state that he had not yet had time to read the books received from Kidd nearly a year earlier. He mentions Commodore Stephen Decatur, who played a key role in the War of 1812 during his presidency. After leaving office Madison retired to Montpelier, his tobacco plantation in Virginia, and experienced financial collapse under mounting debt. Superior content from the 'Father of the Constitution' as his prolific career in public office came to an end.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 467
Wednesday, 13th January 2016
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