James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Anthony Morris, 20 July 1812

From Anthony Morris

Philada July 20th. 1812.

Dear Sir

Among the numerous applications which you must receive for various appointments none perhaps have caus’d more difficulty on your part to decide upon, than I have found on mine to add to the number or weight of your perplexities on this Subject by mentioning my wishes for an appointment to some southern port of Europe, or South America, in which commercial advantages might be probably connected with change of Climate and Scene, which I have some years past been advis’d to try the efficacy of;1 the reported vacancy of the Lisbon Consulate has lately reviv’d this Subject in my wishes, and induc’d me to overcome the reluctance which many circumstances have heretofore prevented my mentioning directly to yourself; in now taking this liberty, Sir, be assur’d that no personal considerations could induce me to wish for any deviation from the various motives which on your part must be so imposing in making every choice; with wishes the most sincere & fervent for your health and happiness I am truly, and most respectfully, yr much obligd & obt. Servt.

Anthony Morris2

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Morris also wrote to his longtime friend Dolley Payne Madison on 20 July, describing a desire for “a total change of Scene, to my health, my feelings, and my Interests.” He mentioned his request for an appointment, claiming that should he be refused he would reconcile himself “to a disappointment which will come with healing on its Wings” (DLC: Dolley Madison Papers). In a 29 July letter to Morris’s daughter Phoebe, Dolley Madison explained that “Mr. M is anxious to employ your Papa in some good place, entirely within his own gift, when we should not be subject to the political or personal objections of a capricious Senate (allmost treason my dear) but it is really true that M has but a small voice, at present, in appointments that go into the House” (owned by Dumbarton House, Washington, D.C., 1995).

2Anthony Morris (1766–1860), a Philadelphia lawyer and merchant, had been the Speaker of the Pennsylvania Senate in 1793–94 and director of the Bank of North America from 1800 to 1806. On 5 May 1813 JM offered Morris a position as confidential agent at Cádiz, which Morris filled until George W. Erving was appointed minister to Spain in 1814 (Robert C. Moon, The Morris Family of Philadelphia: Descendants of Anthony Morris, Born 1654–1721 Died [5 vols.; Philadelphia, 1898–1909], 2:528–35; JM to Morris, 5 May 1813 [ViFreJM]).

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