James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Dolley Madison, [4 November] 1805

From Dolley Madison

Monday night Philadelphia [4 November 1805]

I received, my dear Husband’s, two last letters this morning, one enclosing Anna’s and the other a commission from the President to procure several articles for Mrs. Randolph,1 which I shall now be able to do by riding to the shop doors, he did not send money but I can get them notwithstanding, as General Morland has paid me $1002—and I have the sum you sent.

How I grieved at the loss of your estimable friend Judge Jones. I hope it was not his son who fought the duel.3 Anna will not be here until the 18th. or 20th. of the month, owing to the illness of her nourse. I have had many ladies to see me today, Mrs. Lenox and Miss Keen came to invite me to a party4 and were very pressing, but I could not think of it—and this Evening General Tourrea[u] and two or three frenchmen with him, I declined seeing them as you were absent and I upstairs, the General sent word up that he was anxious to see and speak to me, but I resolved not to admit a gentleman, into my room, unless entitled by age and long acquaintance. It is now past 9 o’clock and I cease to write but to dream of thee. Miss P. is beside me as usual and sends you abundance of love and fills up the blank with Cousin Isaac. Tuesday morning. I was so entirely exhausted with my short ride of yesterday that the Doctor thinks I had better be still today, and I shall be helped down stairs to see my acquaintance. Doctor and Mrs. Rush called after I had bid you adieu last night, and left word they must see me this morning. I have been interrupted with company—Mr. Baldwin, Dr. Physic, Dr. Logan and General Tourreau. The General seems to have forgotten his English. I could not understand when he intends going to Washington, or what he was about here. He said he had been afflicted with every thing this summer but yellow fever. Mr. Baldwin is waiting the arrival of his sister Mrs. Barlow and her husband. Mr. Patton5 has just called to say I must sell my horses and take a pair he is acquainted with they are very fine and handsome. I told him I would consult you directly. I must again leave you as I am down in the parlor and surrounded with visitors. Tell Mrs. Thornton that I am having a model of a bonnet made for her, the new ones are just coming in. Write to thy ever affectionate


Tr (owned by Mrs. George B. Cutts, Wellesley, Mass., 1982). Undated; conjectural date assigned based on the fact that the Monday following JM’s 2 Nov. letter (see n. 1 below) was 4 Nov. 1805.

1For Jefferson’s commission, see JM to Dolley, ca. 2 Nov. 1805, and n. 1. The letter from JM transmitting one from Dolley’s sister Anna Payne Cutts was probably his 31 Oct. letter, which conveyed the news of Joseph Jones’s death.

2Irish-born merchant Stephen Moylan (1737–1811) was educated in Paris and had a shipping business in Lisbon before coming in 1768 to Philadelphia, where he was the first president of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick from 1771 to 1773. During the Revolution he served as George Washington’s secretary, as quartermaster general, and as commander of a cavalry regiment. In 1783 he was made brevet brigadier general. Washington appointed him commissioner of loans at Philadelphia in 1793, a position he held until his death. In 1796 he was elected as the last president of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. He rented Dolley Madison’s Philadelphia house from 1796 to 1807 (Campbell, History of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, 124–25; Mattern and Shulman, Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison, 408).

3Dolley probably referred to the duel in Virginia between Skelton Jones and William Upshaw, which was reported in both the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser and the Philadelphia United States’ Gazette of 31 Oct. 1805.

4Sarah Lukens Keene (d. 1866) was the niece of Tacy Lukens Lenox (d. 1834), the wife of Revolutionary War veteran David Lenox (New York Times, 17 June 1866; Campbell, History of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, 274).

5Irish-born Robert Patton (1755–1814) fought in the American Revolution. He was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati and was elected treasurer in 1804. Patton was postmaster at Philadelphia from 1789 until his death on 2 Jan. 1814 (Glossary, DMDE; Campbell, History of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, 501; Philadelphia Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 4 Jan. 1814).

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