James Madison Papers
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Nicholas P. Trist to James Madison, 6 May 1833

Washington, May 6th ’33

Dear Sir,

At the recommendation of Commodore Elliot, (a gentleman of great intelligence who knows all about the West Indies, and Havana particularly) I have purchased a volume of letters, which none of us will have time to read for a couple of weeks or more. I have dipped into it, & think it will prove entertaining to Mrs Madison & yourself, independently of the interest the subject will derive from its association with us. The more I hear, the more I am satisfied that it would have been next to madness in me to suffer such an opportunity for acquiring independence to pass unimproved; and the more am I satisfied also, that instead of danger, my constitution will be much benefitted. The remarks of the writer on the insalubrity of Havana must not be a source of apprehension to you. They apply only to the port & the city proper (within the walls). Even when the fever rages there (& at that season there will be no necessity for my being on the island even) the village as tis called, immediately without the walls, is perfectly healthy. We got a letter on Saturday from Mrs Randolph. The news had, as I apprehended, proved a great shock to her; but all her friends concurred in representing the event as a fit subject for unalloyed congratulation. Mrs Coolidge was so satisfied by what she heard, that she sent her warmest congratulations. This had evidently quieted Mrs R’s fears.

I feel in some measure like a deserter for I know that I have been of some use to the country, and think that I could have continued to be so. But it was time to think of the interests of those immediately connected with me; and I also had more than once sighed for a little quiet, which I could never enjoy while I every day looked over the newspapers, which as regularly unfolded some new device of villainy, aimed not at this or that party, (which I should have cared nothing or little about) but at the very vitals of our inestimable institutions. But I must check myself, and reserve these subjects for the visit I shall pay you. Ever affectionately, yrs

N P Trist

RC (ViHi: Nicholas P. Trist Album Book).

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