Writings of James Madison, Volume 4

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Author: James Madison

To N. P. Trist.

DECEMBER 21, 1831.

DR SIR,—I return the newspapers. The passage is a sad example of pulpit authenticity, justice, and delicacy. In what relates to me there is scarce any part wholly true in the sense intended. How such a string of misinformation could have been gathered, it is not. easy to imagine. I never studied law with Mr. Jefferson. The story about my father’s interference, and my evasion of his anxious inquiries, falls of course. That of my studying the Bible on the Sabbath during the first term, and abandoning it during the second term of my service in the Department of State, is, throughout, a sheer fabrication for the sake of the sting put into the tail of it.

The preacher says he had spoken to me on the subject of my faith, and that I always evaded his object. I recollect one person, only, of his name [Wilson] who could have made the allusion. He was presented to me at Washington by Mr. Piper, and perhaps other Pennsylvania members of Congress, and called on me several times afterwards late in the evening. He was considered a man of superior genius, and a profound erudition, for his years, but eccentric, and subject occasionally to flights into the region of mental derangement, of which, it was said, he gave proofs in a sermon preached in Washington. This infirmity betrayed itself during a visit to me with Mr. Piper, who apologized for it. In intervals perfectly lucid, his conversation was interesting.

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Chicago: James Madison Jr., "To N. P. Trist.," Writings of James Madison, Volume 4 in James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, 4 Vols. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.), P.212 Original Sources, accessed August 11, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3WY99T4I92W1T98.

MLA: Madison, James, Jr. "To N. P. Trist." Writings of James Madison, Volume 4, in James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, 4 Vols. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.), P.212, Original Sources. 11 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3WY99T4I92W1T98.

Harvard: Madison, J, 'To N. P. Trist.' in Writings of James Madison, Volume 4. cited in , James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, 4 Vols. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.), P.212. Original Sources, retrieved 11 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3WY99T4I92W1T98.