James Madison Autograph Letter Signed as Secretary of State with Franked Address Leaf. Two pages including integral address leaf, penned on recto of first page only, 8" x 9.75", "Gray's near Philada., Sept. 22, 1805." Address leaf is written entirely in Madison's hand and bears his frank, "Free James Madison," with an ink "FREE" handstamp. Docketed on interior pages. At the height of the burgeoning social life in the new capital, Secretary of State James Madison finalizes arrangements for a shipment of Lisbon wine from Baltimore to Washington.

    Letter is addressed to John Brice, an American lawyer, businessman, and political leader from Annapolis, Maryland. Brice served on the Maryland state council and as mayor of Annapolis in 1780 and 1781. When this letter was written, Brice was the Deputy Collector at the port of Baltimore.

    Madison's letter reads, in full: "Sir Having mislaid your letter of Aug. 31, with an expectation constantly of finding it, it has remained there long unacknowledged. I now thank you for your attention to the wine shipped to me from Lisbon, and request the favor of you to procure a conveyance of it to Washington. If it be not too inconvenient, I should be glad to have it secured by cases ag'st [against] improper liberties with it on the way. I must request the favor of you also to let me know the amount of duties set which I am to remit. I am sir respectfully, Yr Obed.t Servt., James Madison." As Deputy Collector, Brice wrote out an itemized list of charges on the address leaf, indicating a total amount due of "$102.57 ½."

    At the time of this letter, Madison's wife, Dolley, was serving as President Thomas Jefferson's hostess, which placed her and her husband at the center of social activities in the capital. With Jefferson's well-known love of wine, surely some of this was served to some of the great political leaders of the period. Letter is moderately age-toned and brittle; several small chips at edges; seal tear.

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    June, 2010
    8th-9th Tuesday-Wednesday
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