James Madison Papers

Anson S. Miller to James Madison, 20 November 1834

Hamilton College November 20th. 1834.

Venerable Sir 

One of your fellow Citizens of the north who is a stranger to your (person but who has Cherished the highest respect for your Character from his earliest years) has long been desirous of soliciting your advice in a matter of the highest importance to himself and has as long hesitated lest he might be guilty of an impropriety—Considering his own youth and your very advanced age. However relying on your indulgence he has at length presumed to Send you this Communication I am a member of the senior Class Hamilton College Within a few months I shall have Completed my Collegiate Course and Exchanged the tranquility of academical retirement for the busy scenes of this world I have Chosen as the business of my future life the profession of the law. I feel very anxious and fully resolved to surmount as far (as my limited powers will allow) the many obstacles which lie in the pathway to eminence in this noble profession. If you will condescen[d] to give me some of that advice which you would bestow on one whom you would make a profound lawyer and an enlightened and upright statesman you will Confer on me a lasting blessing which I cannot better requite than by endeavouring to promote the best interests of a Country which you have so long and ardently loved and so faithfully and successfully served I do not suppose that in one Communication you Can give particular directions Concerning the study of the law for volumes might thus be written All that I Can hope is that you will state some general direction which will guide me in an inexperienced Course Sir if you will grant me such a Communication I will preserve it not only as a table of directions but as a memorial of your indulgence and Condescension. And allow me venerable Sir in Conclusion to add my fervent hope that your last days may be as full of peace as your former were of usefullness and honor May the Evening of your life be as smooth and tranquil as a summer’s sea This must be the natural Effect of the review of a life like yours I rejoice that a Benificent Providence has permitted you to dwell so long amid the blessings of a government which you labored so successfully to regulate And although you are now full of days and the associates of your Early life the (patriots of Quincy and Monticello and our own beloved Hamilton and Jay) have left you the relick of a former age Still we would pray that you may yet enjoy health in the land of the living

Yes distant very distant be the day when this Country shall mourn over the oracle of her Constitution Yours with the highest respect

Anson S. Miller.


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