May 12 1812: Dolley Madison writes to Anna

On May 12, 1812, Dolley Madison writes to her favourite sister, who she calls her "sister-daughter". She starts off by talking of the speech that John Randolph is giving in the House of Representatives against the war that everyone expects her husband, President Madison, to declare. Dolley Madison's letter is reproduced below.

Washington, May 12, 1812. 

My Dear Anna, — John Randolph has been firing away at the "House" this morning against the declaration of war, but we think it will have little effect. I told you of the Hornet and all the news it brought. We have nothing among ourselves worth repeating. Lucy writes often and  is still delighted with Kentucky; our friends in Virginia are all well. My dear husband is overpowered with business, but is in good health. We had all the heads of departments here yesterday to dinner, with their wives.

I will write you, dear Anna, every day that I can take up my pen, and am already prepared with a room, and every sisterly attention for your husband; he will be here, I hope, in time to give his vote for war. However, I may be mistaken, and that dreaded epoch may be some distance off. 

Payne is in Baltimore yet, and as much admired and respected as you could wish. He writes me that Mrs. Patterson and Mrs. Bonaparte are very kind to him, and he is invited out all the time. We intend to send him in a few months to Princeton. Kiss the sweet girls and boys for me, and sleep in peace, my dear sister. Heaven will preserve you and yours as you trust in its great power. 

Ever your own 


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