James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Dawson, 14 July 1787

From John Dawson

July 14. 1787.

Dear sir

It is now some time since I was honourd with a letter from you. Either your engagements in public business, or the want of something new, I presume has been the cause of it.

Nothing has taken place in this state worth communicating. The people in general appear much discontented. To make property receivable in payment of debts appears to be the most favour’d plan at present. The people of this and several of the neighbouring counties are now signing petitions to that purpose.1

Early tomorrow morning I set out for the springs.2 The remote situation of that place, and the difficulty of procuring any information from Pha. or New York, will render any communications from you doubly acceptable. If you will enclose and direct to Majr. Charles Magill,3 at Winchester I shall receive your letters in a direct line. I am with much respect & esteem Your sin: Friend & Very hm: Sert

J Dawson


1Dawson was a resident of Spotsylvania County. In November 1787 citizens of Albemarle County petitioned the legislature to pass an act “for an emission of paper money, or for making property, by valuation, a tender in payment of debts.” The House of Delegates rejected the petition in a series of resolutions, one of which declared “that the making paper currency, or any thing but gold and silver coin, a tender in discharge of debts contracted in money, is contrary to every principle of sound policy, as well as justice” (JHDV description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held at the Capitol, in the City of Williamsburg. Beginning in 1780, the portion after the semicolon reads, Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond, In the County of Henrico. The journal for each session has its own title page and is individually paginated. The edition used is the one in which the journals for 1777–1790 are brought together in three volumes, with each journal published in Richmond in either 1827 or 1828 and often called the “Thomas W. White reprint.” description ends , Oct. 1787, pp. 28, 29).

2“The springs” were located at the town of Bath, in what was then Berkeley County. The town is now called Berkeley Springs and falls within the limits of Morgan County, West Virginia.

3PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (10 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , II, 68 n. 1. See also J. R. Graham, Sketches, Biographical and Genealogical, of the Magill Family of Winchester, Virginia (Winchester, 1908), pp. 12–17.

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