CHAPTER XXXVII
THE END

"MY dear Husband is still confined to his bed. In addition to a disabling Rheumatism throughout the winter, he has had a bilious fever, which has reduced him so much that he can only walk from one bed to another. I never leave him more than a few minutes at a time, and have not left the enclosure around our house for the last eight months on account of his continued indisposition, concerning which friends at a distance have recd but too favourable reports. Our Physicians have advised the Warm Springs for Mr. Madison, and we hoped to have taken him there, but as he could not travel unless conveyed on his bed, we dare not think of it at present." This was the report of Mrs. Madison to her friend Mrs. Tobias Lear, in Washington, in a letter which is undated, but was doubtless written early in the spring of 1836.*

The last struggle of the old man against the disease which had held him captive for so many years was beginning. In a postscript to one of his wife's letters to Mrs. Samuel Harrison Smith he wrote in trembling characters ( January 17, 1835):

"I am very thankful, my kind friend, for the interest you take in my health. It is not good, and at my age nature can afford little of the medical aid she exerts on younger patients. I have indeed got through the most painful stages of my principal malady, a diffusive & obstinate rheumatism; but I feel its crippling effects on my limbs, particularly my hands and fingers, as this little effort of the pen will show."

____________________
*
Family papers of J. Henley Smith, Esq., of Washington.

Id.

-383-

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