James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Richard Bland Lee, 2 August 1819

From Richard Bland Lee

Washington August 2. 1819


I take the liberty of sending to you herewith a copy of an Oration which I was unexpectedly called upon to deliver on the Annual celebration of our Independence on the 5th. July last.1

I have endeavored to keep out of view the Party discords of our Country, confining myself to a narrative of the Principal events which have ocurred since the birth of our Nation. In doing this tho’ I endeavored to introduce as few names as possible, bestowing praise rather on the general wisdom and vertue of my Countrymen than on perticuler Individuals, there were some so connected with the important events narrated from the stations which they filled and the parts which they acted, that it would have been manifestly unjust to have omitted them. And amongst those patriots you deservedly hold a conspicuous place.

I have endeavored to bring into view only meritorious acts in the approbation of which all were united, and as far as my feeble powers permitted to confirm the harmony & concord which now prevail and which seem to be perticulerly necessary at this time to rescue us from present difficulties & to establish permanently our future prosperity.

Having necessarily introduced your name into the oration will be my excuse for troubling you with this letter and a copy of it.

Sincerely praying that you may long live in health and comfort to witness the liberty and happiness of your Country to which you have so largely contributed—I remain with the greatest esteem yr obt sert

Richard Bland Lee

RC (DLC: Custis–Lee Family Papers). Docketed by JM.

1Richard Bland Lee, An Oration, Delivered July 5, 1819, in the Chamber of the House of Representatives … (Washington, 1819; Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 48467). Lee wrote of JM and the outcome of the War of 1812: “Thus President Madison had the happiness, in retiring from office, of leaving his country at peace abroad, united at home, with increased character, and irradiated with glory” (p. 14).

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