James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Graham, 13 September 1811

From John Graham

Washington 13th Sepr 1811

Dear Sir

I should have answered by the last Mail, the Letter you did me the Honor to write me, expressing a hope that my Health was returning;1 had I not been so sick on the day of its departure that I could not sit up. In consequence of a powerful dose of medicine, I am some what better, and have begun again to take Bark tho: I very much doubt whether my Stomach is properly prepared for it.

The City is I think more sickly than I ever knew it to be, tho the fevers are said to be of a cast that yields to the power of Medicine. By this Mail you will receive many Letters from Mr Smith,2 Mr Erving3 and Mr Adams.4 I opened such of them as I thought might probably be in Cypher. With Sentiments of the most Respectful attachment I have the Honor to be your Most Hble Sert

John Graham

Be pleased to let Mrs Madison know that I have sent her Letters to Mrs Crawford & Mrs Knapp5 and that I beg to be most respectfully presented to her.

As it is possible that they may not be able to get thro the decyphering of Mr Adams Letters, at the office today, in time for the Mail—I will mention that it appears from a p⟨ar⟩t of one of them which I read, that he declines the appointment of Judge and intends to remain a little longer in Russia.6


1Letter not found.

2Graham was probably referring to the newspapers and other documents John Spear Smith had enclosed in his dispatches to Monroe between 3 and 22 July 1811 (DNA: RG 59, DD, Great Britain). Much of this material dealt with the departure of Sir Joseph Yorke’s squadron for the American coast and British reaction to the incident between the Lille Belt and the President.

3Probably the dispatches Erving sent to Monroe between 23 June and 15 July 1811 (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61). description ends , Foreign Relations, 3:521–36).

4Probably dispatches from John Quincy Adams written between 2 and 29 June 1811 (Ford, Writings of J. Q. Adams description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford, ed., The Writings of John Quincy Adams (7 vols.; New York, 1913–17). description ends , 4:89–122).

5Mary Phille Knapp was the wife of John Knapp, who had moved from Philadelphia to Washington to establish a lumber business. A friend of William and Anna Thornton, he was also employed as a clerk in the Treasury Department (PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77, vols. 11–17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977–91). description ends , 17:55 and n. 1; 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 , 1:57 and n. 4).

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