James Madison Papers

James Madison to James Monroe, 21 April 1831

Montpellier Apl. 21. 1831

Dear Sir

I have duly recd. yours of the . I considered the advertisement of your estate in Loudon as an omen that your friends in Virginia were to lose you. It is impossible to gainsay the motives to which you yielded in making N. Y. your residence, tho’ I fear that you will find its climate unsuited to your period of life and the State of your health. I just observe and with much pleasure, that the sum voted by Congress, however short of just calculations, escapes the loppings to which it was exposed from the accounting process at Washington, and that you are so far relieved from the vexations involved in it. The result will I hope spare you at least the sacrifice of an untimely sale of your valuable property; and I would fain flatter myself, that with an encouraging improvement of your health you might be brought to reconsider the arrangement which fixes you elsewhere. The effect of this in closing the prospect of our ever meeting again afflicts me deeply, certainly not less so, than it can you. The pain I feel at the idea, associated as it is with a recollection of the long, close, and uninterrupted friendship which united us, amounts to a pang which I cannot well express, and which makes me seek for an alleviation in the possibility that you may be brought back to us in the wonted degree of intercourse. This is a happiness my feelings covet, notwithstanding the short period I could expect to enjoy it, being now, tho’ in comfortable health, a decade beyond the canonical three score & ten, an epoch which you have but just passed. As you propose to make a visit to Loudon previous to the notified sale, if the state of your health permit: why not, with a like permission, extend the trip to this quarter. The journey, at a rate of your own choice, might co-operate in the re-establishment of your health; whilst it would be a peculiar gratification to your friends, and perhaps enable you to join your Colleagues at the University, once more at Court. It is much to be desired that you should continue as long as possible a member of the Board; and I hope you will not send in your resignation, in case you find your cough and weakness giving way to the influence of the season, & the innate strength of your Constitution. I will not despair of your being able to keep up your connection with Virginia by retaining Oakhill, and making it not less than an occasional residence. Whatever may be the turn of things, be assured of the unchangeable interest felt by Mrs. M. as well as myself, in your welfare, and in that of all who are dearest to you.

James Madison

In explanation of my microscopic writing, I must remark that the older I grow the more my stiffening fingers make smaller letters, as my feet take shorter steps; the progress in both cases being at the same time more fatiguing as well as more slow.

RC (DLC: Monroe Papers); draft (DLC).

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