James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Isaac Shelby, 12 August 1813

To Isaac Shelby


Montpelier Aug. 12. 1813

Dear Sir

I recd. your favor of the 18th. July a few days only before I left Washington, which was on the 9th. instant.1 If any doubt had ever existed of the patriotism or bravery of the Citizens of Kentucky, it would have been turned into an admiration of both by the tests to which the war has put them. Nor could any who are acquainted with your history and character, wish the military services of your fellow Citizens to be under better direction than yours. How far a call on you & them, according to the provision made by your Legislature, will take place, must depend2 on the wants of Genl. Harrison who will be regulated in his applications for succour by his own prospects on L. Erie, & by the operations on & below L. Ontario, which must have a considerable bearing on his. We do not despond tho’ we ought not to be too sanguine, that the effect of our naval preparations on the several Lakes, and the proper use of the forces assembled on & convenient to them, will soon relieve the distant militia & volunteers from much of the demands which the course of the war on our inland frontier has made on them. Should it happen otherwise it is consoling to know that such resorts exist as those of which your letter contains so favorable an example.

Draft (DLC); Tr (Ky: Shelby Letterbook “B”). Draft unsigned. Minor differences between the copies have not been noted.

1The following text appears at this point in the letterbook copy: “The state of my health and the hurry of my preparations for the journey made it convenient to postpone the acknowledgement of it to the present date.”

2Crossed out at this point in the draft is the following passage, which does not appear in the letterbook copy: “on the course of events, & the prospects in the N.W. campaign, and in a great degree on the judgment of Genl. Harrison who will be the first to perceive the occasion, & to whose discretion on this point much is left by the instructions of the Secretary of War. He will exercise this discretion under the influence not only of what may take place within his own immediate command, but of the operations to the Eastward of him. The vast expence, compared with our pecuniary means, which has been incurred, makes œconomy tho’ not the first consideration, and.”

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