James Madison Papers

William Dailey to James Madison, 10 July 1834

Chillicothe Ohio, July 10, 1834.

Honored Sir: 

I am a free man of color, by the name of William Dailey, and respectfully crave permission to address you on a subject deeply interesting to myself. I was in the public service in the War of the Revolution—was charged with dispatches by Governor Jefferson to the Lieutenants of the several Counties of Virginia, and some of those of North Carolina, at the time the enemy made a descent & commenced his ravages upon Virginia, riding express and delivering them respectively, pursuant to orders. In the performance of that and similar duties, I, on one occasion, called upon your Excellency with communications from the Governor aforesaid, appertaining to the public concerns. This occurrence, you Sir, will probably recollect, from the circumstance of your expressing great surprise, at the time, that a colored man, & one so young, should be intrusted with so important a charge—At least, I hope your memory may be clear with respect to this particular; as that, in connexion with other facts, may enable me to obtain the Pension for which I am about to apply. Knowing the justice of my claim, I should have made application much earlier to the Government, had it not been that my circumstances enabled me to live comfortably without it. Increasing years and the usual infirmities attendant thereon together with reverses of fortune, have reduced me to so great necessity as to overcome my pride & reluctance, and to induce me to become an applicant, in common with others, for that compensation, or gratuity, which a grateful & generous government have bestowed upon those who faithfully served their country in the Revolutionary War. Mine being a claim, sanctioned by patriotism and public Justice, can not fail of meeting with a favorable reception from the Government, and permit me, Sir, to hope, with the friendly consideration of your Excellency, who, illustrious & celebrated for your own distinguished & highly important public services, can not be indifferent to the merits of those who acted a subordinate & humble part in the same great cause of National Freedom and the rights of man. Should, your Excellency recollect, as suggested, you will confer a signal favor, by forwarding a communication to that effect, as early as your convenience will permit, to, Respected Sir, Your obedient and humble servt

William Dailey.

N. B. I am now in my seventy third year.

W. D.


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