James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William A. Burwell, 14 December 1805

From William A. Burwell

Richmond December 14th 1805

Dr Sir,

I take the liberty of naming the Lynchburg Star as a fit paper for the publication of the Laws of the UStates.1 Its character is decidedly Republican, Situation central, & circulation extensive in the western parts of the State; If these circumstances were not Sufficient to recommend the Star, I would add, that the Editor, is a man of Talents, & means to devote himself to the diffusion of information among the people; Be assur’d if this application is improper, it is not So meant by me.

Shortly after we Separated last summer I experienced, a most severe indisposition, & though engaged, in my duty on the L.—. my health is far from being perfectly reestablis’hd. There are still intervals of debility, & indisposition, which indicate the necessity of attention to my constitution. Present my respects to your family, & yourself accept my gratitude, for your uniform civility.

Wm. A Burwell2


1The Lynchburg Star was founded by James Graham on 31 Oct. 1805 (Brigham, American Newspapers, description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820 (2 vols.; Worcester, Mass., 1947). description ends 2:1121).

2Virginia native William Armistead Burwell (1780–1821) spent a year at the College of William and Mary, after which he used his inheritance from his father, who died shortly after Burwell was born, to invest in extensive landholdings. From 1804 to 1806 he represented Franklin County in the Virginia House of Delegates while also serving sporadically as private secretary to Jefferson. In 1806 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served until his death (John T. Kneebone et al., eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography [3 vols. to date; Richmond, Va., 1998—], 2:439–40).

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