James Madison Papers

Edward Coles to James Madison, 2 March 1835

Philadelphia March 2. 1835

My dear Sir: 

I should have had this pleasure sooner, but for a severe cold, which confined me to the house for near a week, prevented me calling on Messrs Key & Biddle, agreeably to the request contained in your letter of the 16th ulto. Enclosed I send you their Receipt for your subscription to the American Quarterly Review for the next year.

We were much gratifyed to learn that you and Mrs Madison had born without injury this severe & variable weather. It has certainly been, from its continual alteration from extreme cold to mild weather, one of the most trying seasons to the feelings as well as the health that I recollect ever to have experienced. I frequently thought of you, & felt anxious to hear how you stood the winter; and nothing prevented my writing & makeing the enquiry, but my reluctance to giving you or Mrs M. the trouble of replying. Your letter therefore was particularly well timed and acceptable.

My health with the exception of a recent cold, has been excellent. Mrs Coles has also enjoyed very good health, all things considered. This is a period of intense interest to us both, as the important crisis is now close at hand. As soon as she has gotten well through with it—say some time in April, or possibly very early in May, I intend to go to Illinois, where my business requires my presence this Spring. I shall make a quick trip, & not remain longer absent than necessary to attend to my affairs, but hasten back to my Wife, who will during my absence remain here perhaps until our Lease expires, which will be on the 10th of June, and then at her Fathers.

I have been very much gratified this winter in reading the "Writings" of G. Morris—John Jay—R. H. Lee—& of A. Hamilton & Gen: Washington as far as they have been published. I had read at different times detached parts of many of these Volumes, but never before had taken them up, & read all regularly through. It is a kind of reading I am very fond of, and these publications from the character of the Authors, and the subjects treated of, have afforded me peculiar gratification. I may say with truth I never had a more delightful intellectual repast. I wish you would let me know whether you have them, & if not whether you would like to see any of them, or other publications of the kind, & permit me to send them to you. I am very solicitous that you should see all the publications of the period of our history in which you took part, as it is very probable you may find yourself misrepresented; and if so you might have it in your power to do yourself justice, and the Country a benifit by correcting its Historical facts. Facts stated by such characters, & published years before your death, being uncontradicted or noticed by you, your sanction might be infered from your silent acquiescence—whereas a few lines from you would put or enable your Biographer to put the matter right. Moreover I should think it was a kind of reading that would be particularly amusing to you.

The Philosophical Society are in the habit of having an annual supper. At it a few evenings since I was much gratified to hear Judge Hopkinson propose you in a highly complimentary Toast, which he prefaced by a very pretty speech of 8 or 10 minutes in length, in which he spoke in the highest terms of praise both of your head & heart, & of your character as a man & as a politician. He took occasion to remind the company that he had been politically opposed to you, but never personally; on the contrary he said he had at all times entertained the most exalted opinion of your character, and felt the most sincere regard for you as a man. He said he was free to say time had shown that in your [ ] you were right, which he thought [ ] but whether right or wrong, you were always [ ] never governed by passion, but by reasoning [ ] of right &c &c &c. I wish I could give you his remarks, as, it could not but be gratifying to hear such from an old opponent whom time & subsequent events had sweetened & deepened into a friend.

James Brown has been confined all the winter to his room by the vertigo, or the disease by which he has been afflicted for the last year or two. The Doctors say he is liable to drop dead & know knowing when. He seems to despair of ever being able to leave his House.

Mrs Dallas is spending the winter in Pitts[burgh] with her daughter Mrs Wilkins. The Seruriers are now in the City I called to see them yesterday. I was told he was sick abed. I suspect he is very much worried You & Mrs Madison will please to accept the good wishes & sincere regards of Mrs Coles & your old friend

Edward Coles

RC (NN).

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