James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Richard Bache, [post–8] January 1818

To Richard Bache

Mont Pellier [post–8] Jany. 1818.

Dear Sir

I have recd. your favor of the 7th1 inclosing the prospectus of a Gazette which is to be devoted to the cause of public liberty & free from the personal abuse which infects so many presses. I sincerely wish the example may have as much effect in exciting a laudable emulation, as examples of an opposite character have in provoking slanderous competitions. It is not within the rule I have laid down for myself to become a subscriber to the proposed paper; but I shall willingly receive, for a time at least, a copy of the country paper, for which I will make the proper remittance as soon as the publication commences.

In assorting some old pamphlets I met with a Magazine containing a republication from an English Newspaper of a letter to its Editor, in a style & with an object which seem strongly to denote the pen of Dr. Franklin. The name on the outside page, is not unlike his handwriting; but that circumstance would be no evidence of the fact. I have not at hand the means of deciding whether the Doctor was in England at the date of the letter; nor whether, if the letter was his, it may not be among his printed writings. I inclose the magazine that you may ascertain these points.2 If the letter be from the conjectured pen, & has never been printed, it certainly deserves to be so.

Be so good as to return the magazine in due time, it being one of a series which it leaves behind. Accept my sincere respects & friendly wishes.

(Signed)—J. M.

FC (DLC). In John Payne Todd’s hand. Note in top margin of letter, in JM’s hand: “Rd. Bache.” RC dated 7 Jan. 1818 and offered for sale in Rosenbach Company, The History of America in Documents … Part Two (Richmond, Va., 1950), item 349.

2JM enclosed a copy of the September 1759 New American Magazine, in which was published an anonymous letter from “A New-Englandman,” dated 9 May 1759, that he attributed to Benjamin Franklin. The letter was originally printed in The London Chronicle: or, Universal Evening Post, 10–12 May 1759. For the text of the letter, see Labaree et al., Papers of Benjamin Franklin, 8:340–56.

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