James Madison Papers

From James Madison to James Todd, 27 January 1795

To James Todd

Philada. Jany. 27. 1795


Mr. Wilkins who had been requested and had undertaken to settle with you the business in which I have become interested by my marriage with the widow of your brother,1 being under an indisposition which prevents his attending to it, it is necessary for me to enter on the task myself. For this purpose I shall be glad of an interview with you, without delay, either at my house or yours as may be most convenient to you. From the last information given me by Mr. Wilkins I conclude you have disposed of the property which was to be sold, and are otherwise prepared to favor me with an immediate settlement. You will excuse, Sir, the earnestness of my request, as the time approaches for our leaving this city; and it is indispensible to my arrangements, as well as required by the duty which the Parent and Guardian owes to the interests of your infant nephew, that a full adjustment ⟨should be previo⟩usly closed.2 I am Sir, with respect, Your Obedt. hble. servt.

Js. Madison Jr.

RC (owned by W. Parsons Todd, Morristown, N.J., 1966; deposited at PPIn). Addressed by JM to Todd, “Front-Street.” Docketed by Todd.

1John Todd, Jr. (1764–1793), a Quaker lawyer, married Dolley Payne in 1790. He died in the Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic (Moore, The Madison, pp. 8–10).

2James Todd was the brother of John Todd, Jr. On 7 Feb. 1794 Dolley Madison had written him: “As I have already suffered the most serious Inconvenience from the unnecessary Detention of my Part of my Mother in Law’s property and of the Receipt Book and papers of my late Husband—I am constrained once more to request—and if a request is not sufficient, to demand that they may be delivered this day—As I cannot wait thy return from the proposed Excursion without material Injury to my Affairs. The bearer waits for thy answer.” The parents of James and John Todd, Jr.—John Todd, Sr. (a teacher), and Mary Todd—died in the yellow fever epidemic (Paul G. Sifton, “‘What a Dread Prospect …’: Dolley Madison’s Plague Year,” Pa. Mag. Hist. and Biog., 87 [1963]: 186–87, 184; Mathew Carey, A Short Account of the Malignant Fever, Lately Prevalent in Philadelphia [Philadelphia, 1794; Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … 1639 … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). Roger P. Bristol, ed., Supplement to Charles Evans’ American Bibliography (Charlottesville, Va., 1970). description ends 26736], p. 159). On 6 Mar. 1795 James Todd wrote seven promissory notes to JM, payable on thirty days’ sight, totaling $1,969.13 (owned by W. Parsons Todd, Morristown, N.J., 1966; deposited at PPIn). Each note is endorsed by JM and others. One of JM’s endorsements is dated 17 Mar. 1795.

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