[on or before 25 Feb. 1809]
I had this day the honor to receive your favr. with the enclosures I had sent you.
My services were not tendered from any “fondness” or “familiarity” with scenes of successfull warfare might have inspired me with: But from an Idea perhaps foolishly immagined that I might be servissable at a critical juncture which I have been induced to beleive more from the testimonials I have produced than from Ideas of my own significance. I can boast & it is my pride to do it a veneration for my Country and the patriotic defenders of it both in the cabinet and the feild but the arts of peace and sylvan scenes of domestic retirement have always been more agreable to my fancy & were my first and earliest pursuits fully convinced that War horida Bella should only be resorted to in cases of absolute and unavoidable necessity, which some are now of the Opinion is Our present situation, should this be the determination of Congress my slender Abilitys shall not be wanting to prosecute the Will of Goverment should they think them worth their acceptance.
The long important and arduous services you have sustained in Congress and as the head of this Nation justly intitle you to the essteem and affection of every good man and after this life will be a durable monument more lasting than marble, Brass, or Steel; notwithstanding the unjust assperity, falsehood, and malevolence of Party, that bane to our Countrys peace and happiness. may the reflection of haveing continually performed Your duty to your country be a perpetual sourse of delight and make your pillow soft as the down of Cygnets & fragrant as roses sweetly composeing you for that state of bliss prepared by God for all the followers of the meek and blessed Jesus who have done well after this “Mortal Coil” is ended in which hope beleive me to be Sir most resspectfully Yours.
Henry B: Livingston
I am not wholly unknown to Mr Madison, but know not if it will be proper to make my [passport] to his favr. by Asking
DLC: Papers of James Madison.