James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Gabriel Slaughter, 20 March 1817

To Gabriel Slaughter

Washington Mar. 20. 1817


Your letter of Feby 6th Covering the Resolution & address of the General Assembly1 did not reach me till the 18th2 instant. I request the favor of you to communicate the enclosed answer, and accept assurances of my high respect.

James Madison


To the General Assembly of Kentucky

Washington March 22 1817.

I have receivd from his Excellency the Lieutenant Governor your address of Feby. 4. with the sensibility due to the kind expressions which distinguish it.

Although I enjoy the Consciousness that in the Stations successively assigned to me by the voice of my fellow Citizens, I have had no views, not worthy of their approbation, the extension of yours to the conduct I have actually pursued, is a reward which can not but be welcome to me; the more so as coming at the epoch which closes my public career and from a State yielding to none in the characters which give value to its sentiments.

In the condition of a private Citizen to which I return, I shall always cherish the gratifying remembrance of your favorable opinion; and sincerely pray that the happy fruits of our Struggles and our Institutions as a nation, may be amply enjoyed by a portion of it which has shared so gloriously in the one, and is so zealously attached to the other.

J. M.

RC (owned by Herman Blum, Philadelphia, Pa., 1959); draft and draft of enclosure (KyLoF). RC in an unidentified hand, with date and signature in JM’s hand. Addressed by JM to Slaughter at Frankfort, Kentucky. Docketed in an unidentified hand, with the note: “To be laid before the legislature. 1817.” Draft dated 22 Mar. 1817. At foot of draft of enclosure are the words, “Turn over”; the verso is the seven-line draft of the RC. Minor differences between the copies have not been noted.

1Kentucky governor Gabriel Slaughter (1767–1830) wrote to JM on 6 Feb. 1817 (PHi; docketed by JM, “Recd. Mar. 20.”), enclosing a 4 Feb. 1817 address (2 pp.) of the Kentucky General Assembly, which congratulated JM on his retirement and noted that the people of Kentucky “will cherish with Pleasure, the memory of the man whose talents and Services have so eminently contributed, to his Country’s character, and unsullied honor” (Robert Sobel and John Raimo, eds., Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789–1978 [4 vols.; Westport, Conn., 1978], 2:511–12).

2This reads “20th” in draft.

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