James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Ambrose Spencer, 18 April 1812

From Ambrose Spencer

Albany April 18. 1812.


A Nephew of mine Philip D. Spencer, now a mid-shipman on board the President, has conceived a disgust to the sea-service & wishes very much a Lieutenancy in the Army.1 He is about 20 ys. old, of excellent size & I believe well qualified for that station.

If Your Excellency, could bestow this appointment on him it would be gratefully received by the Father & son & oblige me.

You will excuse this direct application, his name has been sent forward some time since & appears not to have been attended to.

It gives me great satisfaction to assure you that the Embargo has no effect on the public mind, the Country has been long since prepared for the ultima ratio. It operates severely on Merchants who have adventured in the purchase of grain. Our elections will terminate well notwithstanding the event in Massachusetts.2 With high respect & great consideration your Excellency’s Obdt. sevt.

Ambrose Spencer

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers). Docketed by JM.

1JM nominated Philip D. Spencer of New York as a second lieutenant of artillery on 28 Apr. 1812. The Senate confirmed the appointment on 22 May (Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 2:260, 268–69).

2Spencer’s prediction was too optimistic. As a result of the elections for the New York state legislature held between 28 and 30 Apr. 1812, the Federalists occupied sixty-five seats to the Republicans’ forty-seven in the assembly. The Republicans held twenty-four seats to the Federalists’ eight in the Senate, but the Federalists could still command an overall majority by a margin of two votes in a joint ballot of the assembly (N.Y. Evening Post, 11 May 1812).

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