James Madison Papers

James Madison to Benjamin Waterhouse, 12 March 1829

Montpellier Mar. 12. 1829

Dear Sir

I recd in due time, with your favor of the 14th. Ult: a copy of your Inaugural Discourse prepared in early life. I was not at leisure till within a few days, to give it a perusal; and I ought not now to hazard a critique on the merits of its Latinity. If I were ever in any degree qualified for such a task, a recollection of my long separation from classical studies would arrest my pen. I am safe I believe in the remark that the language has less the aspect of being moulded in a modern Idiom than has been generally the case with the performances of modern Latinists

Another interview, which you despair of, would give me as much pleasure as it could you. The possibility of it must lie with you as the junior party. We should certainly be at no loss for topics, having lived thro’ a long period filled with events as novel as various, and as interesting as novel. Our conversation would of course embrace the scenes you glance at, from which corners of the veil are already lifted. You probably know much of them that I do not, and both of us less than others, whose testimony has passed beyond the summons even of History. It might have been well if the truth yet in preservation could have instructed posterity without disturbing the quiet of the present generation. This seems now to have become impossible; and the sufferers will know on whom to charge the misfortune.

I return you, Sir, a full measure of the respect & good wishes expressed in your letter, and you will readily believe that Mrs. Madison cordially joins in them.

James Madison

RC (MH: Schools of Medicine and Public Health Library); draft (DLC).

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