James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Henry Lee, March 1808

Saturday noon 1808 Mar.

My dear Sir

The last letr. from my family commands me to make the only effort in my power to preserve a life, the loss of which will bear me to the grave with unceasing woe. We shd. have gone to the Bermudas where I have a fast friend who had offered me his house even purse. But our condition with G Britain arrested my plan. My Physician advises So. America, as New-Orleans the only place within our territory, is from its impurity of air & water rejected.

Charlestown was tried by my Wifes sister & injury resulted from it. There was not sufficient heat & too much moisture. The latter is the case with New orleans & The mississippi.

Brazils is dry & warm & with that government we stand on a friendly footing. It is the only spot at this time open to a person situated as I am.

I had wished that I could have been made useful to my Country, but this wish I forego if improper, tho I confess I feel not the weight of the objection made to my proposal.

I have served in war & in peace the US. I never asked for any office, or even favor before, from Govt. or any member of govt. Nor shd. I do it now, but for the peculiarity of my condition. It was done with reluctance, altho to you, in whose friendship of most men on earth, I have ever greatly relied.

I propose calling on you this evening or tomorrow some leisure hour, & then will hear Yr. decision.

I hope you continue to mend in health & that you ⟨m⟩ay long enjoy that, with all other blessings. Yrs. ever

H: Lee

P. S. I have no idea of war with G. B. or any other nation so that there will be no interference on the score of duty to my country.

DLC: Papers of James Madison.

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