James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Butler, 9 February 1816

U. States Ship Independence February 9 1816

Honered Sir

I hope you will pardon These few lines and not Consider Them as intrusive but as an humbel petion for my Discharge I Shoud not wish the favor if my Situation was not as I Shal State to you which I hope you will take into Consideration and grant my request, having Served my apprenticeship in Alexandria to the Cordwaning business which trade I was put to by my eldest Sister who then resided in the former place and acted after my parents Death as my Sister and a perant. At that time it was in hir power to Do So but Since I left the former place She has had the misfortune of becoming a wido and left with three Smal Children to Support and as She informd me while on lake ontario that She was in a Critical Situation being left without friends and without money I went to Philadelphia and sent hir my prize money that was in due me then and after the treaty of peace I petioned Cmre. Chancy for my Discharge Sending hir Distress, inclosed in this petion which he returned me again without any answer. But he was kind enough to favor me with the priviledg of working in the harbour all last winter which gave me ⟨a⟩ great opertunity of Contributing to hir Supor⟨t.⟩ Since our arrival from the Mediterranian I wrote three letters, for hir to indeavor to git my Discharge but I have never received any answer as yet and I am apprihensive that She is no more and I shoud feel happy if you will be so kind as to place it in my power to return to Alexandria and find whate has become of the Children if She Shoud be no more and do by them as She has Done by me. I hope Sir you will take into Consideration my fealings and gra⟨nt⟩ the request My time expires in May and I can render but little Service to my Cuntry this winter I ascribe myself you⟨r⟩ humbel Servant

James Butler

DNA: RG 45--Miscellaneous Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy.

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