James Madison Papers

Matthew Maury to James Madison, 11 August 1829

Richmond Virginia 11th Augt 1829


In presuming to address you I must plead that feeling for my Father which impells me to assure you that he has not in any way rendered himself unworthy of your good opinion which was manifested in your reappointment of him to the Consulate at Liverpool.

Since I had the gratification of spending a day at Montpellier, I have been little absent from the United States. The first six months of the present year were spent in Carolina & Georgia, engaged in Commercial pursuits, & while there, I saw the first Newspaper attacks upon my Father. The Charleston & Savannah Editors who inserted them contradicted them promptly upon application—I would have written to General Jackson, but I thought it indelicate; & several of his party who knew my Father considered the "removal" very improbable, if not quite out of the question.

It has however taken place—Nevertheless I called upon the President about three weeks ago to inform him of the facts of the case—namely—that my Father did personally & punctitiously discharge the duties of his Office; that he had no idea of resigning or expectation of being removed so long as he did so; that he wished to retain the Office while he was competent to its duties, partly from pride & partly because it’s income was very convenient, altho’ perhaps not absolutely necessary; that his Sons well knew if he resigned & recommended any one it would have been Coll Aspinwall the Consul in London; that the story of his loss of "Amor patriæ" was a malicious fiction &c &c

The President assured me that no complaints had been made; but, that it had been represented to him that the income of the Office was enormous, & that the holding of it was a matter of indifference to my Father. I expressed my regret that such interested representations had obtained credit, & gave him the Account (as annexed) from my Father’s Books of the Income of the Office—I added further that in 1815, 1816 & 1817 the Office was from various causes very laborious & vexatious, & besides, so heavy a Tax upon my Father’s private purse that he then contemplated the expediency of resigning it—That my Brother (about that time in America) had made some inquiries, at the suggestion of a friend, as to his chance of succeeding to it in case of vacancy; but upon his return to Liverpool my Father assured him he would never do anything which might seem so contrary to the Genius of the Government as to recommend his Son to succeed him in an Office then comparatively lucrative.

I hope, Sir, you will estimate the motives which induce me to trouble you with this communication.

My Father continues in the enjoyment of extraordinary health & vigour for his Eighty fourth year—On the 24th June, he writes me "I am in suspense still as to my Office & know nothing pro or con."

I trust my business will permit me to remain in Richmond long enough to have the pleasure of paying my respects to you in October next—Be assured I shall always remember with pride & gratitude the kind reception I experienced from Mrs Madison & yourself when I called upon you three years ago:

I pray you may long continue to enjoy the comforts of life & the esteem of all men, With much respect & esteem, I have the honor to be, Sir, Your obliged humble servant

Matthew Maury

Income of the Liverpool Consulate

1790 to 1792--merged in other Accounts.

1793 to 1812--average $878 p annum

1815 to 1817--average $396 p annum

1818--$2,509 under the partial operation of the Invoice-verification Act.

1819 to 1828--average $3,821 p annum, under the full operation of the above Act.

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

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