James Madison Papers

Richard D. Cutts to James Madison, 5 September 1835

Washington City— Sepr 5—1835—

I am well aware, My Dear Uncle, of the numerous calls upon your attention, yet as I am convinced it will not be withheld when any essential benefit can be derived from its engagement, I have been tempted to address you. It is to consult you on a subject too nearly connected with my future prospects to permit me to come to a decision without the advice of one, whose experience & good wishes for my welfare would warrant its being the best.

More than a month has now elapsed since I graduated at College and during that time, I as well as my father have been engaged in viewing the different arguments urged by each profession. The advantages held out by the Study of the Law are great & to me most pleasing, since it opens the only road to distinction & preferment—a road I have been ever ambitious to travel. Yet there are so many Lawyers & so many who daily apply themselves to the Study, that at times I become almost disheartened, & would er’e this have given up the idea of being one, were I not persuaded that Quality is far superior to Quantity—that it generally rests with the Student whether he shall be distinguished or not. My Father is of opinion that the Western Country would be the best to settle in or perhaps to obtain the occupation of a Private Tutor in a family, where I might at the same time Study Law under its head. It may seem from this, that I have almost already decided, but altho’ I am more inclined to study Law than any other profession, yet I would willingly embrace that, which you would think in the present state of our country & my own condition, would be most advantageous to the family. This one thing only am I determined on, that whatever it will be, I shall study & apply myself as closely and with as much perseverance as I possibly can.

Our trip down the River proved more agreeable than we expected—all are in good health—altho’ I believe there is a great deal of sickness at present in Washington. Mrs Johnson, the widow of Josiah J. of Pensa. has er’e this been married to a Mr Gilpin of Philadelphia. My love & respects to Aunt D—& for yourself, all, that can come from an Affectionate Nephew—

Rd D Cutts.


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