James Madison, Former President and Father of the U.S. Constitution, Says the American Revolution Is “Distinguished in the Annals of Liberty”

And the Battle of Bunker Hill, he states, “holds so distinguished a place in our Revolutionary History”

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This is the first letter of Madison we have had extolling the American Revolution and its international impact on the struggle for liberty; It letter has never been publicly offered for sale before

On June 17, 1775, the British army under General William Howe, supported by Royal Navy warships, attacked the defenses...

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James Madison, Former President and Father of the U.S. Constitution, Says the American Revolution Is “Distinguished in the Annals of Liberty”

And the Battle of Bunker Hill, he states, “holds so distinguished a place in our Revolutionary History”

This is the first letter of Madison we have had extolling the American Revolution and its international impact on the struggle for liberty; It letter has never been publicly offered for sale before

On June 17, 1775, the British army under General William Howe, supported by Royal Navy warships, attacked the defenses the colonists had erected on Bunker and Breeds Hills. The British troops moved up Breeds Hill in perfect battle formations. Patriot leader William Prescott allegedly encouraged his men “not fire until you see the whites of their eyes.” Two assaults on the colonial positions were repulsed with significant British casualties; the third and final attack carried the position after the defenders ran out of ammunition. The colonists retreated to Cambridge over Bunker Hill, leaving the British in control of Charlestown but still besieged in Boston. The battle was a tactical victory for the British because they held the ground, but it proved to be a sobering experience, involving more than twice the casualties than the Americans had incurred, including many officers. The battle had demonstrated that inexperienced Continental militia could stand up to regular British army troops in battle, at a time when the British were considered to have the finest army in the world. It encouraged revolutionaries throughout America, and made the success of such a revolution actually seem possible.

In 1823, Edward Everett, Daniel Webster, famed physician John C. Warren, and others co-founded the Bunker Hill Monument Association, which sought to memorialize that battle with a grand monument. They petitioned the Massachusetts House and Senate for recognition and support and a subsequent Act was passed giving both. Then began the work to draw interest, raise money, design the monument, and build it, a years-long effort that created the first major monument to the American Revolution, and the first public obelisk in the United States. In 1824 and 1825 they began notifying the public of their work, elected their officers, and then wrote a circular eliciting donations, and elected prominent men honorary members. They informed these men, and the responses the committee received back were from many great men of the era, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Oliver Wolcott, Joseph Story, and the Marquis de Lafayette.

During the Revolutionary War, James Madison was a member of the legislature assembled to write an independent constitution for the state of Virginia. There he helped change the convention’s policy of religious tolerance to one of absolute religious freedom. Fully dedicated to the Enlightenment ideals of the rights of the people, it went on to set the bar for nearly every state constitution to follow. Madison then became the youngest member of the Continental Congress, where he was considered Thomas Jefferson’s protege. After the war, Madison played a major role in establishing the U.S. Constitution and is considered its father. At that time he, with Alexander Hamilton, co-authored influential The Federalist Papers. He was then instrumental in creating the Bill of Rights.

On March 25, 1825, Edward Everett wrote Madison to inform him that he had been named an honorary member of the association. Madison responded.

Autograph letter signed, Montpelier, Va., April 22, 1825, to Everett, lauding Bunker Hill, but lauding even more the role the American Revolution played in promoting liberty worldwide. “I have received your letter informing me that I have elected an honorary member of the Bunker Hill Monument Association. The event which is to receive the Monumental commemoration, holds so distinguished a place in our Revolutionary History, itself so distinguished in the annals of Liberty, that the object of the association can not be too highly commended; nor the honorary relation to it offered me, be otherwise regarded than to as a claim to my particular acknowledgements.”

This is the first letter of Madison we have had extolling the American Revolution and its international impact on the struggle for liberty; It letter has never been publicly offered for sale before

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