James Madison Papers

To James Madison from David Meade Randolph, 14 June 1811 (Abstract)

§ From David Meade Randolph1

14 June 1811, London. Asks that JM consider this letter “with mingled feelings of justice and friendship”; however, if his official conduct has been weighed and found unworthy, asks that JM “treat this essay with silent contempt.” The reasons for his departure were known to few, but “the interruptions of commerce” have disappointed his hopes, and he is now engaged in enterprises requiring “privations, patience and infinite persevereance” in order to be able to support his “unfortunate family” in the future. These reflections have led him to seek the consulate in Lisbon or that in London “shoud the present Incumbent here, by a seriously apprehended dissolution, vacate his Office.”2

RC (DLC). 4 pp. Docketed by JM.

1David Meade Randolph (1760–1830), a brother-in-law of Jefferson’s son-in-law Thomas Mann Randolph, had served as U.S. marshal for the eastern district of Virginia from 1791 to 1801, when Jefferson removed him on the grounds that he had packed juries. Both his government accounts and his personal finances were in considerable disarray, and in 1808 he left for England “upon a scheme so little likely to succeed, that nothing but despair could have suggested it” (PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (3 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986—). description ends , 1:120–21 n. 5, 236, 237 n. 1; Martha Jefferson Randolph to Dolley Madison, 15 Jan. 1808 [owned by Mr. and Mrs. George B. Cutts, Brookline, Mass., 1958]).

2William Lyman, U.S. consul in London since 1804, died on 22 Sept. 1811. Chargé d’affaires John Spear Smith appointed Reuben G. Beasley consul ad interim in his place (N.Y. Commercial Advertiser, 12 Nov. 1811; Beasley to Monroe, 27 Sept. 1811 [DNA: RG 59, CD, London]).

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