James Madison Papers

To James Madison from St. George Tucker, 27 January 1813

From St. George Tucker

Williamsburg January 27. 1813.

Dear Sir,

I have this moment concluded an official Letter to the Secretary of State, notifying my Acceptance of the Commission which by your direction was sent to me from his office the last week.1 In that Letter I took the Liberty of offering you my respectful acknowledgements for what I deemed a testimonial of your approbation and Confidence; but the sense I entertain of your Conduct on this Occasion will not permit me to rest satisfied with such an acknowledgement: Permit me to look upon this occurrence as an unequivocal mark of your friendship, also. In that light, believe me, Sir, I have more pleasure in recieving it, than I could derive either from the Honors or Emoluments of the office. Of the former I was not ambitious; of the latter I was not in the least desirous. I had retired, as I thought, forever, from a public station, & from public notice. Among the Inducements which I have to emerge from my obscurity, the Idea that in so doing I should manifest a respect for your opinion, & good Wishes, holds a distinguish’d place.2

I beg you Sir to accept this friendly expression of my feelings towards you in good part; and with it my most sincere Wishes for the health of yourself & Mrs. Madison (to whom be pleased to offer my respectful Compliments) and for your mutual happiness; added to my fervent prayers for the honourable Issue of your patriotic Endeavours to advance & preserve the honor and Interests of our common Country. I am with sincere respect & friendship, Dear Sir, your most obedt. Servt.

St: G: Tucker

RC (DLC); FC (ViW: Tucker-Coleman Papers). RC docketed by JM.

1In his letter to Monroe, Tucker acknowledged receipt of his commission as a district judge for Virginia and expressed his gratitude to the president (Tucker to Monroe, 27 Jan. 1813 [ibid.]).

2Tucker initially considered declining the position and drafted a long letter to JM on 23 Jan. 1813 stating his reasons for this decision (ibid.). Appended to the 23 Jan. draft is a paragraph dated 27 Jan.: “The persuasions of several of my friends induced me to take further time to deliberate on the step I was about to take. Unwilling as I was, & still continue, to enter again into public Life, the Consideration that all my means of support being now invested in Banks, which might be ruin’d by the War, it might be well to accept an office the Salary annext to which, might in Case of such an Event, defend me from Beggars. This consideration has prevaild, & I have this day acceptd the office—May Heaven support me under it!!!” The Senate had confirmed Tucker’s nomination on 19 Jan. (Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 2:317).

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