James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Armstrong, 5 November 1812 (Abstract)

§ From John Armstrong

5 November 1812, “Head Qurs. New York.” “Mr. Benjamin Romaine of this City proposes to visit Washington1 and seeks the honor of an introduction to you.2 He is a gentleman of intellegence and integrity.”

RC (DLC). 1 p.; docketed by JM.

1Romaine traveled to Washington to lobby for a scheme that John Armstrong had proposed to the War Department, namely that Congress amend the volunteer laws to allow the president to accept the services of up to three thousand volunteer artillerists who would serve for the duration of the war defending New York and the surrounding area. Armstrong regarded this measure as preferable to making constant calls on the state militia (see Armstrong to Eustis, 5 Nov. 1812 [DNA: RG 107, LRRS, A-215:6]). Later, on 28 Feb. 1814, JM appointed Benjamin Romaine deputy quartermaster general for the Third Military District (Hamersly, Complete Regular Army Register of the U.S., 132).

2In a letter to Dr. Nicholas Romayne, postmarked 15 Nov. 1812, Romaine described his 14 Nov. meeting with JM: “Was ushered, without any ceremony, to his presence, when three gentlemen immediately left the room (which rule I observed in about twenty minutes after when a gentleman entered in a like manner). First topic—if I had an agreeable passage (after reading my introduction from Genl. Armstrong). Second respecting the Genls: health. Thirdly on the improving facilities of tra[n]sport by Steem; and Fifthly [sic], I took occasion to state the probabel advantages of a defencible local force, if some regulation was provided for by law to embody those men above the age of forty five and such as had, in N. York, served in the artillery four years which had freed them from further millitary duties other than that of volunteering—that such provision would, in all probability, speedily produce an organization of a respecticable force for local defence. Of this he approved, and hoped, if the U. S. did not make such arrangement, that the several states would. His mild and agreeable manner brought me instantly at home. I mentioned the movements in the Tammany Society on the above plan, of which he had heard” (ViU).

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