James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Hiram Haines, 4 June 1822

From Hiram Haines

Slate Mills
Culpeper County Va. June 4th. 1822.

Honourable Sir,

A desire not only to see, but to possess and preserve relicts of those venerable Heroes an[d] Sages whose exertions won and whose counsells have preserved that Glorious Liberty which I in common with Millions of my happy fellow citizens enjoy, is the cause of my (at present) addressing you, in which I hope you will excuse the liberty An intire stranger has thus unceremoniously taken.

My wishes are to possess specimens of their hand writing and if possible correct copperplate engravings, or painted miniature likenesses of their persons. Should you, who has acted so important a part in the scenes referred to, be willing thus far to gratify me the favour will be received with pleasure and remembered with gratitude.

I am but a youth of Nineteen, to whom, neither Fortune nor Nature has been propitious or profuse, and should you please to favour me with a specimen of your hand writing, I wish it to embrace some maxim or moral lesson that may be useful to me as I Journey through life, and which would probably be better remembered and more strictly regarded as having emenated from so respectable a source.

On whatever subject you may please to write, affix your name in the style in which you have been in the habit of signing it. Address to Hiram Haines, Slate Mills Culpr. Cty. Va.

May the Great Architect of the Universe give you health and Peace for your remaining days.

H: Haines1

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM “(never answerd).”

1Hiram Haines (ca. 1803–1841), a native of Culpeper County, Virginia, was editor of the Petersburg American Constellation and author of a volume of poetry, Mountain Buds and Blossoms, Wove in a Rustic Garland (Petersburg, Va., 1825) (Richard Beale Davis, Intellectual Life in Jefferson’s Virginia, 1790–1830 [Chapel Hill, N.C., 1964], 346). In the first poem of the volume, “The Virginiad,” Haines devotes three stanzas to JM (40–41), the first of which is as follows:

In sweet seclusion ’mid Montpelier’s shades,

Where Nature’s face, Art’s finest touch upbraids

Virginians look and learn with pride to prize,

Sage Madison—the polish’d, good and wise.

From pow’r retired—its loss, he can’t deplore,

Its honors reap’d—he thinks of it no more;

But dwells on his sweet farm in classic ease,

His pride and pleasure, to instruct and please:

Admired—reverenc’d, and by all beloved,

Correct through life—his acts stand self-approved;

In one bright character we see him blend,

The Statesman,—Scholar,—Farmer—and the Friend.

Index Entries