James Madison Papers

P. Mortimer Fitzwilliams to James Madison, 27 December 1835

Philadelphia Decr. 27th 1835.


Though I regret that I have not the honor of knowing You personally, I trust you will excuse the liberty I now take in making you a request I collected with the greatest care & labour a curious collection of autographs for a gentleman of distinguished standing in the British Parliament who is passionately fond of the relics of men who have rendered themselves illustrious by their virtues talents or public services & has always expressed the most devoted attachment to the great leading principles of your government and the men who established and sustained them. The collection comprised the autographs of Washington—Richard H. Lee—Tho. Jefferson. John Hancock. John Randolph. and a number of others who have conferred such distinguished honor on the American name. They were all accidentally destroyed with a number of valuable papers. Sincerely & anxiously desirous to repair the loss at the time I returned home (to London) in the ensuing spring. I very reluctantly & after much hesitation take the liberty of making you a request. You were the friend of all the illustrious men who formed & defended the constitution of the U. S. and venerable survivor of many of those gifted men who have sunk into the tomb you stand as the link between the present and former generations. You undoubtedly possess among your papers their autographs, and if no especial value is attached by you to some of them I should be under the most profound & grateful obligations if you could assist me in repairing my heavy loss. If it will not be perfectly agreeable for you so to do, be kind enough to acknowledge the receipt of this hasty scrawl as I am not sure that I have directed this letter prope<rly.> My address is to the care of William T. Otto Esqr. No 139 Arch Street. I have the honor to be With the most per Con & wth Respect Sir, Your Excellency’s most obt & hle servt.

P. Mortimer Fitzwilliams

Copy (owned by Lawrence Goldberg, Chicago, Ill.).

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