James Madison Papers

William Buell Sprague to James Madison, 18 August 1828

West Springfield Mass: August 18th 1828.

Dear Sir,

I have the honor to acknowledge your very obliging favor of the 11th inst. enclosing several highly interesting autographs, which I shall feel great pleasure in conveying to my friend in England by an early opportunity. I beg you to accept my sincere thanks for having so readily, and to such an extent, complied with my wishes; and I am quite sure that the high respect which my friend has expressed for our country and her institutions, cannot fail to be increased, by his being so much obliged by the kindness and condescension of one who has been he Chief Magistrate.

Will you pardon me, Sir, if I trouble you with yet another request? I do it reluctantly, and not the less so, from having already requested and received a favor which I could scarcely persuade myself that a stranger had a right to ask; but I hope you will excuse me on the ground that I have no acquaintance in Virginia, to whom I could apply with any hope of obtaining the desired information. I wish to be informed in whose hands the papers of the late Patrick Henry are lodged, or who would be most likely to be able to furnish me his autograph. I should be glad also to know where was the residence of the other Virginia Signers of the Declaration of Independence, besides those whose autographs you have been so kind as to send me; viz Geo: Wythe, Thomas Nelson Jr, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton. I should not hesitate to address a letter to any of the descendants of those gentlemen, if I knew who they are, and where they reside.

Several gentlemen in this neighborhood, who, with myself, have admired the very fair and beautiful hand writing of your letter, have expressed a wish to know your age, and the general state of your health at this advanced period of life. You will think perhaps, that the request savors somewhat of the curiosity which is said to mark the character of this part of the country; but I assure you that it is dictated much more by a sense of gratitude for your services, & of veneration for your character. I am, Sir, with the highest respect, Your greatly obliged & most Obed Servt,

William Buell Sprague.

RC (DLC). Docketed by James Madison.

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