James Madison Papers

From Nicholas P. Trist to James Madison, 25 January 1827

Charlottesville January 25th. 1827.

Dear Sir

This mail conveys to you two copies of the enactments, which have been delayed so long. You will be surprised to learn that I have taken upon myself to send on the report without them: this went by last sunday’s mail. On meeting Genl. Cocke early in the week of the sale, he immediately enquired about the report, & expressed great surprise & concern at the answer. "What! not yet. Bless my soul!" At the time that he left Richmond even, the delay had become matter of astonishment & deep regret. The report had been relied upon, from the first, as the entering wedge to every measure concerning both the University & Mrs R.—On the Genl.’s again urging it, I had determined at one time, to send the report by last Thursday’s mail. But, on further reflexion, the delay had already been so great that the addition of one post could not be of vital importance—The enactments would certainly be ready by Sunday—I therefore changed my mind, & resolved to wait till then. Sunday came! And still in the same predicament! I therefore despatched the packet without the enactments. Rather than myself communicate directly with the President & Directors of the L. Fund, I wrote a line to Mr Cabell, begging that he would explain the delay, & also announce the laws as following close upon the heels of the rest. There was another cause which made it important, in the eyes of Genl. C & Mr Garrett, both of whom repeatedly expressed the utmost anxiety on the subject, that the report should go immediately. A petition from the persons assembled at Mo. had been moved by Mr Tucker, and adopted, praying for such an appropriation as would retain the bust within the State. This had gone by the thursday’s post.

The sales both in Bedford and here, have been very good. It was not contemplated until during the sale to sell any of the pictures; but, on considering the prospect of good prices, the trouble, the danger & the expense of sending them on, it was determined to try the engravings, casts & minor objects. The furniture sold very well also—the whole was disposed of, with the exception of that of his apartment & a couple of chairs.

Your kind packet arrived safe. A dip into Newspapers is a temptation, I have not firmness to resist, although it is a dissipation in which I have lost much time. In common with every friend of Liberty I am delighted at this new disposition of the British government, and at the fortunate pretext for its indulgence. What a pity that similar treaties could not be ripped up in favor of the liberal elements which are smothering in Spain & Italy!

My usual feelings of grateful attachment attend Mrs Madison & yourself In haste,

N P Trist

RC (ViHi: Nicholas P. Trist Album Book).

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