James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Graham, 3 May 1805

From John Graham

Louisville 3d May 1805


As I have been detained in Kentucky longer than I had expected, it becomes proper1 me, to state to you, that so soon as the time allowed me by the President for the arrangement of my private affairs had expired, I engaged my passage to Orleans in a Boat then loading at Limestone for the Contractor, which I was told would move on more rapidly than any other from that place. By way of shortening my Voyage I came across the Country on Horse back and have now been waiting here ten days for the Boat. As yet she has not arrived tho I have just received intelligence which induces me to calculate with some degree of certainty, that she will be here this Evening.

As the River, which has been for some time past very low, is now rising pretty rapidly, we may probably cross the Falls tomorrow, or next day without unloading our Boat—should we, however, not be able to do so, I will myself be at the Expence of hauling the Cargo round, sooner than wait here any longer, for I am extremely anxious to get to Orleans on account both of my Health & of my Business.2

By the last Post I wrote to Governor Claiborne to let him know what was detaining me but I am now greatly in hopes of being with him nearly as soon as my Letter. With Sentiments of the Highest Respect I have the Honor to be Sir, Your Mo: Obt Sert

John Graham3

RC (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 6). Docketed by Wagner.

1Graham apparently omitted the word “for” here.

2For Graham’s appointment as secretary of Orleans Territory, see JM to William C. C. Claiborne, 7 Jan. 1805 (PJM-SS, description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (9 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends 8:461 and n. 1).

3John Graham (1774–1820) was born into a wealthy family in Dumfries, Virginia, educated at Columbia College, and later moved to Kentucky, where he was elected to the legislature in 1800. From 1801 to 1803 he was secretary of legation at Madrid. On 12 Dec. 1804 he was appointed territorial secretary of Orleans Territory, and in 1806 he was named to investigate the Western conspiracy of Aaron Burr. Graham was chief clerk of the State Department from 1 July 1807 to 18 July 1817, when he was named to a special commission to study the situation of the Spanish colonies then struggling for their independence. In 1819 Monroe named Graham minister plenipotentiary to the Portuguese court in Rio de Janeiro, but he stayed less than a year, returning to Washington where he died. JM thought highly of him and wrote a letter recommending him to Monroe on 5 Mar. 1817 (PJM-RS, description begins David B. Mattern et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Retirement Series (1 vol. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 2009–). description ends 1:6–7).

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