James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Richard Cutts, 30 September 1811

To Richard Cutts

Montpelier, Sepr. 30. 1811

Dear Sir,

I have received your favor of  1 with the pleasure I could not but feel in learning that the accident to your shoulder was so far advanced towards a cure. It is with a very different feeling I am given to understand that any doubt exists as to your coming to Washington this winter, where besides considerations of a public nature, the social ones would be so interesting to us. I shall not give up the hope that you will not yield to obstacles which may not be absolutely unsurmountable and that we may even have you and your family with us at an earlier day than that to which you have limited the chance of the gratification.2

Nothing has occurred latterly to vary the complexion of our foreign prospects, beyond what you will have gathered from the printed accounts. If a change takes place in the British Cabinet or France should disappoint the calculations somewhat encouraged by recent appearances, Congress will probably have occasion for all their wisdom and patriotic energy. From the accounts of latest date, it would seem that the insane sovereign of Great Britain cannot long be in the way, of better councils, in case his successor should be disposed to adopt them toward this country.3

We are in the moment of setting out for Washington,4 and in the hurry incident to it. We are all well except J. Payne, whose indisposition has settled into an ague and fever. This is his well day and I hope his sick one tomorrow may not disqualify for a short ride from my brother’s to Dr. Winston’s.

Accept for Mrs. Cutts and yourself our affectionate regards and wishes.

James Madison.

Tr (NjP: Crane Collection).

1Left blank in Tr. No communication from Cutts to JM in this period has been found.

2Cutts had been elected to represent a Maine district in the Twelfth Congress, but he was to be absent for much of the first session. He had severely fractured his shoulder after slipping on some ice as he was leaving the wharf in Boston. He was also reluctant however, apparently for business reasons, to support the preparations for war that dominated congressional proceedings between November 1811 and June 1812 (postscript by Mary Cutts to a copy of Dolley Madison to Anna Cutts, May 1812 [owned by Mr. and Mrs. George B. Cutts, Brookline, Mass., 1958]; Roger H. Brown, The Republic in Peril: 1812 [New York, 1964], pp. 138–39, 156, 223 n. 11).

3Throughout September accounts printed from British newspapers reported that George III had suffered a “dangerous relapse” in his illness, and his death was said to be “not very remote.” The death of the monarch would have entailed the dissolution of Parliament and a general election (see National Intelligencer, 14, 17, and 24 Sept. 1811).

4JM returned to Washington on 3 Oct. (ibid., 5 Oct. 1811).

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