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INV-24256 JAMES MONROE Autograph Letter Signed as Secretary of State, to [Charles Everett], Washington, D.C., September 16, 1814. 2 pp., 7 x 10 in. 1814-09-16

I stand responsible for my own acts only. [Secretary of War John Armstrong] claims credit for the measures which had been taken for defense of this place. Those measures were not proposed by him but the President....

James Monroe, then Secretary of State, led a scouting expedition in August 1814 that revealed the British marching towards the nation’s capital. His warning allowed President James Madison to evacuate and save America’s founding documents. In the face of criticism, Monroe here discusses his role, trying to avoid blame for the crushing loss and destruction of the Capitol.

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