James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Hugh Mercer, 23 August 1825

From Hugh Mercer

Fredericksburg, August 23d. 1825

My dear Sir,

I beg you to indulge me in sending you this letter, & to express the regret I felt at being obliged to leave so abruptly the easy & refined Hospitality of Montpelier, in my late Visit to you & Mrs Madison, & especially too as the pleasure of that visit was so highly enhanced to me by the Society of Him,1 whom every Section of our Country has been emulous in honoring, but whom, alas! we shall, in all probability, never behold again!

Recollecting, as I ever shall, the Happiness I had in paying my respects to you some years ago, & the pleasure I then experienced in that Society, so distinguished for its attractiveness in your retirement, I very gladly obeyed the Wishes of my fellow Citizens here, that I would accompany the good Genl. with the Mayor, thus far, because I desired again the Gratification of seeing you, as I was happy to find you, in good Health & Spirits.

I pray, Sir, in common with our whole country, that these blessings may long, very long be continued to you. Be pleased to present me most respectfully to Mrs. Madison, & allow me to add, that I am with every sentiment of esteem & respect, your friend & very ob St,

Hugh Mercer2

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM, probably at a later date, “Aug. 22. 1825.”

1JM, Jefferson, and Monroe met Lafayette at Monticello where the three ex-presidents gathered with the “nation’s guest” for the last time. JM and Lafayette, accompanied by Mercer and the mayor of Fredericksburg, Robert Lewis, arrived at Montpelier on 21 Aug. Lafayette left the next day (Levasseur, Lafayette in America, 2:550–51; Fredericksburg Virginia Herald, 17 Aug. 1825; Quinn, History of the City of Fredericksburg, 337). For Lafayette’s movements in central Virginia, see J. Bennett Nolan, Lafayette in America Day by Day (Baltimore, 1934), 301–3.

2Hugh Mercer (1776–1853), the son of Gen. Hugh Mercer, who died at the Battle of Princeton in 1777, lived at Sentry Box, his home in Fredericksburg. He was a graduate of the College of William and Mary, colonel of the Spotsylvania County militia, and for many years a director of the Fredericksburg branch of the Bank of Virginia. He also served in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1804–8 (Baltimore Sun, 3 Dec. 1853; William Montgomery Clemens, ed., Genealogy: A Journal of American Ancestry [10 vols.; Hackensack, N.J., 1919], 9:25; Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution [2 vols.; New York, 1852], 2:874; Baltimore Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser, 10 Jan. 1824; Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776-1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , 406).

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