James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Rhea, 23 April 1818

From John Rhea

Washington 23d april 1818

Dear Sir,

I received Your letter of the sixth instant,1 and would have written sooner but expected that I might have the pleasure of Visiting You on my way to Tennessee. To know that Mrs Madison and Yourself retain good health affords to me great satisfaction and I hope it will be continued to You. Not being heretofore in the habit of leaving this city immediately at the adjournment of Congress, as usual I have continued here, having also some business to do for some of my fellow citizens who sent me here. I am gratefull to You for Your kind invitation—but having to travel in the Stage I fear that I cannot stop this time. To Your Lady and Yourself I wish the highest happiness that friendship can desire for You—inclosed herewith is a copy of my circular letter2—it contains little if any thing new to You—with the most Sincere regard and Esteem Your obt sert

John Rhea3

RC (DLC). Docketed incorrectly by JM “Rhea Jno April 28. 1818.”

1Letter not found.

2The document has not been found, but like many congressmen, Rhea composed a circular letter to constituents at the end of each session of Congress, describing its most important events and debates. A number of Rhea’s letters can be found in the Madison Papers, Library of Congress, and are printed in Noble E. Cunningham Jr., ed., Circular Letters of Congressmen to Their Constituents, 1789–1829 (3 vols.; Chapel Hill, N.C., 1978), 1:xv–xlv, 2:687–93, 840–44, 921–27, 3:1115–21.

3John Rhea (1753–1832) was an Irish-born congressman from Tennessee. A veteran of the Revolutionary War, he took part in the Battle of King’s Mountain in 1780, practiced law thereafter, and served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1803–15, and 1817–23 (Richard A. Harrison, Princetonians, 1776–1783: A Biographical Dictionary (Princeton, N.J., 1981), 294, 295).

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