From David R. Williams
Washington 28th February 1813
Having maturely deliberated on the propriety of accepting the appointment which, you have been pleased to offer me, it is with reluctance & distress, I find myself constrained to decline it. The situation which I have occupied, during the present session, together with the evident anxiety, I have discovered, concerning the success of the military bills, among which, was not least distinguished that, for the increase of general officers, induce my determination.1 The duty which I owe the country, & the personal good wishes I feel towards you, persuade me to a contrary decission; in any other situation therefore I should have gladly accepted a command in the army. If under circumstances that may hereafter arise, different from the present, you shall be pleased to require my services, in any capacity whatever, I shall chearfully & promptly obey.
I intreat you to be assured that, I am properly impressed with the sentiments such an evidence of confidence ought to excite: for the manner, I am sincerely grateful to you. I am very respectfully your obliged friend & most humble servant
David R. Williams
RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.
1. Williams chaired the military affairs committee of the House of Representatives during the second session of the Twelfth Congress. He alluded here to the impropriety of accepting, while in that position, an appointment under the 24 Feb. 1813 “Act making provision for an additional number of general officers,” which authorized the appointment of six major generals and six brigadier generals, and which he had shepherded through the House. His term in Congress ended, however, with this session, and Williams accepted a brigadier generalship for which JM commissioned him in July 1813 (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 12th Cong., 2d sess., 166, 210–11, 455, 1057–60; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 2:801; PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (6 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 4:476 n. 3).