James Madison Papers

William B. Sprague to James Madison, 12 December 1831

Albany, NY. December 12. 1831.

Dear Sir,

I fear you will think, and not without good reason, that I am presuming too much upon your kindness in troubling you with one more inquiry in connexion with my favorite pursuit of collecting autographs. I have at length succeeded, tho’ not without great difficulty in obtaining a letter or some other document in the hand writing of each of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, with the exception of Button Gwinnett, and I have the prospect of being able soon to procure something (at least a signature) of his. I am now attempting the same thing in respect to the Signers of the Federal Constitution, and have already succeeded to a considerable extent. Among those in which I am deficient is John Blair of Virginia. Will you, My dear Sir, if my requests on this unimportant subject are not already past endurance, be so good as to inform me to whom of his descendants or correspondents I may apply for a letter or note from him, with the prospect of success. I have a letter from a person of the same name who was Govr of Virginia several years before; and whom I at first identified with the Signer; but I have since discovered my mistake. I have only to say in apology for troubling you about this matter, that I could think of no other person who would be likely to have it in his power to give me the information; and I confess I have presumed a little upon my recollection of your past indulgence. With every sentiment of perfect veneration, I am, Dear Sir, Yr most obedt and obliged,

William B. Sprague


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