ADAMS, John Quincy (1767-1848), President. Autograph letter signed ("J.Q. Adams") as President, TO JAMES MADISON, with Madison's autograph docket on verso, Washington, 21 February 1829. 1 page, 4to (9 3/8 x 7 3/8 in.), neatly inlaid, very faint mat-burn, otherwise in fine condition.
ADAMS'S CONDOLENCES UPON THE DEATH OF MADISON'S MOTHER
Eleven days before leaving office as President, Adams, who had served as U.S. Minister to Russia in Madison's administration, writes a touching letter of condolence to the former President, whose mother, Nelly Conway Madison (1731-1829), had recently died at the age of 98. Noting that he is enclosing "a copy of a pamphlet relating to subjects not without interest in the history of our Country," Adams offers his sympathy: "I avail myself of the occasion to assure you of the deep sympathy with which I have learned the affliction with which you have recently been visited by the decease of your venerable parent, and of the undeviating respect and attachment with which I remain your friend."
Nelly Madison, the daughter of a prominent Virginia planter, remained very close to her son throughout her long life: "Madison and his mother had lived under the same roof at Montpelier for eighty years...She maintained a proud interest in her famous son's career, and he...was dutiful and affectionate toward her" (R. Ketcham, James Madison, p. 666). When Madison died in 1836 at age 85, Adams delivered a two-hour memorial address in Boston.
Autograph letters of John Quincy Adams written during his single term as President are surprisingly uncommon.