James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Horatio Gates Spafford, 12 July 1810

From Horatio Gates Spafford

Albany, N. Y., 7 Mo. 12, 1810.

Hond. & Esteemed Friend—

I take the liberty to address one of these Letters to thee,1 because I can but suppose thou must feel an interest in every undertaking which interests & affects the community. Placed, as thou art, at the civil head of a Nation of Freemen, thy fatherly goodwill embraces, I trust, an anxious regard for the whole—& while I thus regard thee, I could but wish to engage thy attention to what is doing here. I rejoice at the elevation of good men, & congratulate thee, most devoutly, on the return of this State, to Republicanism: having myself, the fullest confidence in the wisdom & integrity of our Rulers. But, in the triumph, or defeat, of parties, I have nothing to do, as a party-man. I am an American; & simply wish for Rulers of American principles. Sensibly & deeply impressed with the trials of these times, I cannot forbear expressing my sense of our wrongs, & my general approbation of the measures of our Rulers—while I tender thee my best wishes for thine & the general welfare.

My endeavors, here, are generously patronized by the Government, & I contemplate extending my plan, by individual States, through the Union. Would it be impolitic, or would it be just & politic both, for the General Government to relieve me in the expense of Postage? My Correspondence has yielded to the Govt., at least 1000 dollars, with 3 years. Pray let me hear from thee, & rest assured of the cordial esteem of, thy friend,

H. G. Spafford.2

RC (DLC); enclosure (DLC: Madison Collection, Rare Book Division). For enclosure, see n. 1.

1Spafford enclosed a printed circular letter (1 p.), dated “7 Mo. 4, 1810,” addressed to JM and mistakenly docketed by him “Sepr. 12. 1810.” The letter appealed for further information and subscriptions to permit the completion and publication of “Spafford’s Gazetteer, of the State of New-York.” Spafford announced that because of delays in receiving the latest census returns, his manuscript would not be sent to the press until “early next winter.”

2Horatio Gates Spafford (1778–1832) was a member of the New-York Historical Society and the author of the text General Geography, and Rudiments of Useful Knowledge (Hudson, N.Y., 1809).

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