James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert J. Evans, 3 June 1819

From Robert J. Evans

Philada. June 3. 1819

Honoured Sir

Profoundly impressed with the conviction that the time has arrived, when some plan should be adopted for the eventual total extirpation of Slavery from the United States; I am endeavouring through the medium of the National Intelligencer, under the assumed signature of “Benjn. Rush,” to call the attention of the American People to the subject.1

Knowing your devotedness to the best interests of your country, I solicit the favour of such practical hints on the subject, as may have occurred to you in the course of your reflections.

Unknown to you and to the world, I should certainly consider this as a most unwarrantable liberty were it not for the importance of the object, and the weight which the opinions of such a man must necessarily have with his fellow citizens; and likewise believing them to be the property of their country.

If this request should be considered impertinent, I beg you to find my excuse in the character of the motive, and consign it to oblivion. With gratitude for your important services to your country I am with profound respect Your fellow citizen

Robert J. Evans2

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Evans’s articles under the name “Benjamin Rush,” arguing for the gradual abolition of slavery, were published in the Daily National Intelligencer on 22 and 29 May 1819.

2Robert J. Evans, a Philadelphia Quaker merchant, had offices at 364 Market Street (William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy [6 vols.; Ann Arbor, Mich., 1936–50], 2:520; Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 2 Apr. 1811).

Index Entries