James Madison Papers

Reynolds Chapman to James Madison, 3 April 1836

Orange Courthouse April, 3d. 1836

Dear Sir:

I am about to trouble you in a matter of delicacy and of interest. I do so, not without great reluctance: indeed nothing could impel me to it, but what I consider an imperious duty to a friend, and to truth.

Mr. Smith, the competitor of Mr. Slaughter, in the Senatorial Canvass, asserted on thursday last, at a publick meeting, in the upper part of this county, as a gentleman of intelligence and unsuspected veracity, who was present, informed me yesterday—that your brother and Ambrose Madison were his warm and active supporters—and that you favoured his election. Now, Sir, every body well acquainted with you is satisfied that the assertion, so far as it respects you, is entirely gratuitous; but many who do not enjoy that advantage, give credence to it; and it is doing Mr. Slaughter very great injury, as Mr. Brooking, my informant, told me, and as might be naturally expected. I venture, therefore, Dear Sir, in behalf of Mr. Slaughter, who is pressing through the District, to ask the favour of you to give me authority to contradict the assertion so far as it referred to you; if, as I am sure it is, unfounded. I promise you that what may be confided to me shall be used with that delicacy and discretion due to you and the occasion; but it is wished—that permission may be given to shew it to those persons who were at the meeting.

Steps are taking to get authority from your brother and A. M. to contradict the assertions so far as they are concerned. I am most affecty your ob serv.

Reynolds Chapman

I hope, Sir, you will find in the occasion an adequate apology for the liberty I have taken. An early answer will be most acceptable. most affecty

R. Chapman


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