James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Horatio Gates Spafford, 13 September 1814

From Horatio Gates Spafford

Albany, 9 Mo. 13, 1814.

Respected Friend

At the moment of taking my pen to address thee, my eyes are flowing with tears of anxiety and deep distress for the situation of my beloved country. And when I grieve for that, I grieve also for myself. Perhaps thy time may hardly allow thee to peruse this, but let me entreat, if that may be possible. Devoted, as I feel, to the interests of America, my passions almost subdue, at times, my religious principles, so that I regret I have nothing to offer in the common-cause. It was expressly designed, by my Parents, that I should be educated for military life; & I held a commission at a very early age. My Father was an officer, & active in the field, till called to the Commissariat, where he served to the close of the war. But—my consience forbid to resist evil with evil in any case, & to commit any violence. I have been a Quaker 14 years. O that all mankind feared to take human life, as I do, & we might rest in peace. But—in the sympathy of feeling, I commiserate with all the unhappy. The laws have favored those of my religion; & I gladly yield the mite which my means afford toward those who suffer by the war. Be assured then, that would my consience acquit me, I would long since have tenderd my best services, at the hazard of life, for my bleeding country. If I could, in any way, consistent with my consience as a christian, render any service to my country, I would serve it with alacrity & zeal. I have suffered by the War, to the reduction of my means, by more than one half. In much sympathy with thee, whose trials must be very great, & with my country, I remain, thy friend,

H. G. Spafford.

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

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