James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Henry Lee, 9 [April] 1789

From Henry Lee

Richmond 9h. June [April]1 89

My dear sir

Whenever I ask your aid to the promotion of the wishes of my friend, receive it on this express condition, that the public good must combine with the views of the gentlemen recommended.

Very happy in the appointent [sic] of my old fellow soldier Lindsay to the vacancy occasioned by Mr. Parkers election, I desire only to entreat your attention to his compeer Mr. M. Livingston, should it be found proper to appoint two officers instead of one to the several posts.2

I had the pleasure once or twice last year to express myself fully to you concerning Mr L. as to character & circumstances. You yourself indeed manifested a thorough knowled[ge] of the same gentleman.

It is then unnecessary for me to enter into particulars.

If the change of system presumed should take place, an opportunity will offer of associating Mr. Livingston with Mr. Lindsay in the execution of the trust at the port of Norfolk.

Should you co-incide with me in sentiments on this subject, altho your official situation does not afford you an opportunity of being immediately useful to my friend, yet I am very confident you can materially assist him.

Confiding in which I can only assure you that you will in my judgemt. promote the public good, & reward a meritorious citizen. Yours always

Henry Lee

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM. Brackets enclose letters obscured in right margin by mounting.

1Although Lee wrote “June,” and the letter is placed under date of 9 June 1789 in the Index to the James Madison Papers (Washington, 1965), all circumstances point to April as the correct month. This letter almost certainly was the letter of recommendation that Muscoe Livingston enclosed in his letter to JM of 12 Apr. Moreover, Lee wrote to JM on 10 June from Alexandria and thus would not have written from Richmond one day earlier.

2Muscoe Livingston (d. 1798) went to France at the outbreak of the American Revolution and accepted a commission in the American navy. After the war he resumed his career as a ship captain and resided at Norfolk (WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly. description ends , 1st ser., XIII [1904–5], 263; CVSP description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts (11 vols.; Richmond, 1875–93). description ends , III, 433).

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