James Madison Papers

Joseph Wood to James Madison, 16 February 1836

Bridgeport (Connecticut) Feby. 16th. 1835


In attempting to write the Life of my Father in law, the late Chief Justice Ellsworth, I am under the necessity of resorting for materials to the small remnant yet with us, of that venerable band of Patriots and Statesmen who were colabourers with him in the organization of our Government—For that purpose I take the liberty to address you at this time—And were it not for the great distance which separates us, I should have gladly availed myself of the opportunity of a personal interview with you at your residence on this subject—

I am aware that you had fair opportunity to notice the character, rank and talents which he sustained and evinced, as a member of the U. S. Convention, of the Senate and as Chief Justice &c—And if perchance any correspondence or manuscripts of his worthy of preservation have fallen into your hands, I should esteem it a great favour to be allowed the use of them with the understanding that they shall be returned if required

Your opinion of his mode of speaking, his talents as an orator, a Statesman, Judge &c would be peculiarly gratifying and acceptable if given in accordance with your own feeling and convenience. I am desirous of collecting as many as possible of the opinions of his colabourers and companions, relative to his social and intellectual character. I have fortunately some from those who with him have long since ceased from their Labours—Now Sir, whatever you may think proper to communicate in reply to this request, for the proposed work, have the goodness to forward it to me by Mail, or should you be in possession of any manuscripts to enclose the chance for miscarriage might be least if forwarded to the Honble. Gideon Tomlinson Senator in Congress from this State With sentiments of high respect I am Your Obedient Servant

Joseph Wood


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