James Madison Papers

Frederick List to James Madison, 21 January 1829

Reading Pa Jan 21. 1829


I long ago felt the desire to submit to your examination, some of my essays on american political economy and thus to seize an opportunity of introducing myself to a celebrated public character who, since I commenced to read history has been the subject of my highest veneration. But the fear of intruding in your retirement hitherto prevented me from doing so.

My present forwardness I beg, venerable Sir, to ascribe to the enthusiasm with wh. I read your classical letters to Mr Cabell, in which you have taken the same fundamental position as I have done in the inclosed outlines (N i) namely: that free trade is not a political but cosmopolitical principle and the execution of it in its full extent consistent with eternal peace only.

Your favorable opinion on these hastily written pieces in the examination of which I must beg the favour of you to make great allowance for the circumstance of their being the first thing I have attempted, in the English language, would contribute very much to encourage me in executing the extensive work I have undertaken in compliance with the request contained in Number 4.

As I have taken the liberty of addressing you without having the honour of a personal acquaintance I hope you will not deem it arrogant if I say a word of myself. In respect to my former standing, my fate and my references I allege the first and second page of N i., to which I have only to add that for [sevral] years I am editing a german paper in this place which is considered one of the leading german papers and that my fellow citizens have entrusted me with the management of a very important public improvement to [which] the enclosed pamphlet (N 5) has reference. I am, Sir, with the highest veneration Your most obedient and humble servant

Frederick List

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

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