James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Joseph Delaplaine, [ca. 31] October 1820

To Joseph Delaplaine

Montpr. [ca. 31] Ocr. 1820

Dear Sir

I have recd. your note of the 11th. with the little poetical volume of Mr. Mead; for which I desire that my thanks may be accepted.

It is so long since I indulged myself in this species of reading, that I can the less venture to pronounce on the merit of the performance. From a hasty glance over it, my attention was caught by passages, which appeared well to accord with the inspiration of the subject.

I take this occasion to ask the favor of you to send me the manuscript papers containing memoranda relating to myself,1 in which I am apprehensive there may be some inaccuracies; and the two pamphlets, the one on the British Doctrine concerning neutral trade;2 the other entitled “Political Observations.”3 Of the former I have no copy left, and the latter has corrections, which I wish to apply to a copy on hand. Yrs with respect & good wishes

James Madison

RC (ViU: Special Collections); draft (DLC). RC day of month not indicated; conjectural day supplied from cover marked: “Orange C H Octr. 31st 1820.” Addressed by JM to Delaplaine at Philadelphia, and franked. Docketed by Delaplaine.

1In a letter to JM of 26 Feb. 1816 (DLC), Delaplaine had requested “a few facts of your life—Birth, parentage, Educationprofession. Offices &c &c” for use in writing JM’s biography for Delaplaine’s Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished American Characters. JM complied, sending Delaplaine a three-page memorandum that he acknowledged in his letter to JM of October 1816 (DLC). This sketch of JM’s life, entitled “Memorandum sent Sepr. 1816, to Mr. Delaplaine at his request,” was edited and expanded by additional notes to a fourth page during JM’s retirement (NjP).

2This was JM’s lengthy pamphlet, An Examination of the British Doctrine, Which Subjects to Capture a Neutral Trade, Not Open in Time of Peace (Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 10776), which JM wrote in the fall of 1805 and distributed to members of Congress in January 1806. For a summary of the contents and JM’s motives for writing it, see Ketcham, James Madison, 442–44.

3For JM’s pamphlet, Political Observations, dated 20 Apr. 1795, see PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77, vols. 11–17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977–91). description ends 15:511–33 and n.

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