James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Elbridge Gerry, 11 June 1814

From Elbridge Gerry

Boston 11th June 1814.

Dear Sir,

The petition enclosed, I have this moment received with the request of the subscribers “to forward it to the President of the United States.”1

General Boyd’s character as a brave experienced soldier, an uniform & a firm republican, & a zealous friend to the existing Government, has often directed the anathemas of its foes against him, & every insidious measure to wound & injure him. Of these facts I have had repeated & striking proof, & regret exceedingly, that there should exist on the part of Government, even the appearance of a necessity for adopting a measure, which will be greivous to many of the best friends, & highly exhilerating to the inveterate enemies of the Country. I have perused for the first time the petition, & find annexed to it the names of some of the most respectable members of this metropolis, & of both Houses of the Legislature.

If the order of the Secretary of War, which is considered generally as a mean for enforcing the resignation of General Boyd, should be so modified as to give him an opportunity of establishing his military fame, it is the opinion of every Gentleman with whom I have conferred on the subject, that the General will rise superior to his personal enemies, & do honor to himself & his Country.

Whatever may be the measure finally adopted by yourself, it will I am sure be the result of deliberate investigation, & be founded in wisdom & discretion. I have the honor to be, dear Sir, on all occasions, most respectfully & sincerely your friend

E. Gerry

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Gerry enclosed an undated petition to JM signed by William Gray and fourteen other Republican citizens of Massachusetts, including James Trecothick Austin and George Blake (DLC; filed at Dec. 1814). The petitioners praised Boyd’s service on the northern frontier, deplored John Armstrong’s order transferring him to a southern post under the command of “an officer just elevated over his head” (no doubt recently commissioned Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson), and requested that he be stationed as close to Massachusetts as possible.

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