James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Hubbard Taylor, 23 May 1793

From Hubbard Taylor

Clarke County 23d May 1793

Dear Sir

Your last of the 16th. March1 was handed me by Colo. Orr. I am much obliged to you for the papers inclosed. I am sorry to find the necessaty of calling the conduct of so high an officer as the Secretary of the Treasury into question: but at the same time am very happy to find such strict enquiry and examination of Matters so important to the publick good.

Indian Affairs are in my opinion in a very bad way, little benifit will result either from the treaty or Army this year.2 I am well pursuaded that but a small proportion of the Indian tribes will attend the treaty, and while we are feasting a few at the expence of the U. States they will have parties commiting the most barbarous massacres on our defenceless inhabitants. God only knows when we are to be free’d from them by the present mode of Conducting Military matters.

I long much to hear some thing respecting the trade of the Mississippi the time draws on that great quanti[ti]es of Tobo., Flour, Beef, pork, Hemp, &c will be for market. Improvements in this Country is almost beyond conception, both as to society and agriculture as well as an increase of Inhabitants the latter of which has been considerable the fall & Spring past—which has occationed the Lands in the interior parts of the Country to sell high unimproved Lands frequently from £75 to £100 per 100 Acres, those improved from 25/ to 40/– per acre. You may Judge from this what our Country would soon be if the Indians was at peace, the Mississippi open, & the titles to our Lands adjusted; if I live to see all those take place, I shall behold the happiest & richest Country in the world: But the want of either of these three obje[c]ts will operate greatly to lessen the advantages dependant on the other two.

Our Court of appeals3 has now begun to do business—and I beleave from what I can learn will give pretty general Satisfaction. I have not a copy of the Rules by me or wd. inclose them, if I should procure them before the bear[e]r of this Letter sets out will send them. Our papers generally contain nothing of consequence but what comes through the Atlantic States—and being too often filled with personal abuse renders them not worth sending a distance. Our relations both in Jefferson and this quarter are all well, and are geting themselves well fixed with good little farms Comfortable Houses & plentifull Stocks, which are necessary appendages for an agreable life.

You will be pleased to remember me to all yr Fathers & brothers Famil[i]es in which Clary4 beg leave to Join. And beleave me to be at all times Dr. Sir Yr sincere & Affe: hble sert:

H. Taylor

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Letter not found.

2In late April three commissioners—Timothy Pickering, Benjamin Lincoln, and former Virginia governor Beverley Randolph—set out for Lower Sandusky to negotiate with the Indians of the Northwest. At the same time, Maj. Gen. Anthony Wayne was preparing a punitive expedition. The Indians’ aims were equally contradictory, and negotiations were broken off in August. Disease among Wayne’s troops brought an inconclusive end to the campaign of 1793. “Eventually, the administration’s dual policy of negotiation and escalation caused the first crisis in civil-military relations between the new army and its civilian superiors in American history” (Richard H. Kohn, Eagle and Sword: The Federalists and the Creation of the Military Establishment in America, 1783–1802 [New York, 1975], pp. 151–55).

3Disputed land claims in Kentucky were the major source of litigation. Framers of the Kentucky 1792 constitution hoped to resolve this grievance by providing for a court of appeals with original jurisdiction over land cases (Coward, Kentucky in the New Republic, p. 34).

4Clarissa Minor Taylor (d. 1842) of Spotsylvania County married Hubbard Taylor in 1782 (VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. description ends , 29 [1921]: 372).

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