James Madison Papers

James Madison to Francis Page, 7 November 1833

Montpr. Novr. 7. 1833

Dr. Sir.

I have recd. your letter inclosing a printed Copy of a Petition to the General Assembly in be half of the heirs & Representatives of Genl. Nelson; and requesting any information I may be able to give respecting his advances & engagements for the public services at a trying period of the Revolutionary war, in Virginia

I regret that my absence from the States during his meritorious Services as a military Commander, & Governour, deprived me of the opportunity of having any personal knowledge of them. But my general acquaintance with his character, and the impressions left by whatever was of public notoriety, make me readily confide in the statements of the petition, and inspire a sincere wish that it may be favorably received.

My personal acquaintance with Genl. Nelson was limited to a few opportunities at an early stage of the Revolution. It was sufficient however to disclose to me his distinguished worth. He was excelled by no man in the generosity of his nature, in the nobleness of his sentiments, in the purity of his revolutionary principles, and in an exalted patriotism that ensured every service & sacrifice that his Country might need.

With this view of the subject, it could not but accord with my best sympathies, that nothing which may be due to the Ancestor may be witheld from the heirs to it. I must be allowed to add that the gratification will be increased by the knowledge that the benefit will be shared by descendants of Governor Page, whose memory will always be classed with that of the most distinguished patriots of the Revolution. Nor was he less endeared to his friends, among whom I had an intimate place, by the interesting accomplishments of his mind and the warmth of his social affections, than he was to his Country, by the evidence he gave of devotion to the Republicanism of its Institutions. With great & cordial respect.

J. M.

Draft (DLC).

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