Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas.

IAMES MADI~oM 31

dency to his Secretary of State and intimate
friend, James Monroe, and retired to
his ancestral estate at Montpelier, where he
passed the evening of his days surrounded
by attached friends and enjoying the
merited respect of the whole nation. He
took pleasure in promoting agriculture, as
president of the county society, and in
watching the development of the University
of Virginia, of which he was long rector and
visitor. In extreme old age he sat in I829
as a member of the convention called to reform
the Virginia Constitution, where his
appearance was hailed with the most genuine
interest and satisfaction, though he
was too infirm to participate in the active
work of revision. Small in stature, slender
and delicate in form, with a countenance
full of intelligence, and expressive alike of
mildness and dignity, he attracted the attention
of all who attended the convention,
and was treated with the utmost deference.
He seldom addressed the assembly, though
he always appeared self-possessed, and
watched with unflagging interest the progress
of every measure. Though the convention
sat sixteen weeks, he spoke only
twice; but when he did speak, the whole
house paused to listen. His voice was
feeble though his enunciation was very distinct.
One of the reporters, Mr. Stansburv,
relates the following anecdote of Mr. Madison's
last speech:
"The next day, as there was a great call
for it, and the report had not been returned
for publication, I sent my son with a respectful
note, requesting the manuscript.
'My son was a lad of sixteen, whom I had
taken with me to act as amanuensis. On
delivering my note, he was received with
the utmost politeness, and requested to
come up into Mr. Madison's room and wait
while his eye ran over the paper, as company
had prevented his attending to it. He

did so, and Mr. Madison sat down to correct
the report. The lad stood near him so that
8

his eye fell on the paper. Coming to a
certain sentence in the speech, Mr. Madison
erased a word and substituted another; but
hesitated, and not feeling satisfied with the
second word, drew his pen through it also.
My son was young, ignorant of the world,
and unconscious of the solecism of which he
was about to be guilty, when, in all simplicity,
he suggested a word. Probably no
other person then living would have taken
such a liberty. But the sage, instead of
regarding such an intrusion with a frown,
raised his eyes to the boy's face with a
pleased surprise, and said, 'Thank you, sir;
it is the very word,' and immediately inserted
it. I saw him the next day, and he
mentioned the circumstance, with a compliment
on the young critic."
Mr. Madison died at Montpelier, June 28,
1836, at the advanced age of eighty-five.
While not possessing the highest order of
talent, and deficient in oratorical powers,
he was pre-eminently a statesman, of a well.
balanced mind. His attainments were solid,
his knowledge copious, his judgment generally
sound, his powers of analysis and logical
statement rarely surpassed, his language
and literary style correct and polished, his
conversation witty,. his temperament sanguine
and trustful, his integrity unquestioned,
his manners simple, courteous and
winning. By these rare qualities he conciliated
the esteem not only of friends, but
of political opponents, in a greater degree
than any American statesman in the present
century.
Mrs. Madison survived her husband thirteen
years, and died July 12, 1849, in the
eighty-second year of her age. She was one
of the most remarkable women our country
has produced. Even now she is admiringly
remembered in Washington as
"Dolly Madison," and it is fitting that her

memory should descend to posterity in
company with thatof the companion of
her life.

I

Lewis Publishing Company. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas.. Chicago, Illinois. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20932/. Accessed July 14, 2014.