James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Leander Cathcart, 12 May 1809

From James Leander Cathcart

Madeira May 12th. 1809


I was honor’d with your esteem’d favor of the 13th. March on the 28th. Ulto. & I most Sincerely congratulate you & our Country on the Success of your election, & hope you may live long to enjoy the fruits of your labours in the full confidence of the worthy part of the Community however they may differ in political matters.

The Wines you order’d me to Send you are Ship’d by the Madeira as per. inclosed Invoice & Bill of Lading, the Serçial is a quality of Wine which is very Scarce & not fit to use until it is five years old, that Sent you is seven. The Terita or Madeira Burgundy is likewise Scarce & is likewise Seven years old. The Malmsey is likewise the Same Age. The others are the best quality of London particular Madeira, from different plantations, One Quarter Cask is new of last Vintage, which will form a contrast to the old & is excellent Wine, what Seems extraordinary it is prefer’d here to the old.

Should the Wines or any part of them, unfortunately not meet your approbation, I request you to order them to be deliver’d to Washington Bowie Esqr to be Sold on my account & I will either reimburse you or Send you Wine of any particular quality you may please to Commission for, but if on the contrary you should be pleased with them I request you to recommend my establishment to your numerous friends & you may depend that I will endeavour to do honour to your recommendation.

The Embargo has been felt most Severely by me, in addition to a total Stagnation of all business it has furnished a pretext to Mr. Willm. S. Shaw, my former Partner to keep property in his hands to the Amount of 17,000 dollars, for which he has never made the least returns & I am doubtful whether I will ever recover one Cent from him, Consequently I withdrew myself from the Firm of Cathcart Foster & Shaw on the 31st. Decr. last & since conduct my business entirely on my own Account, under my own name.

Requesting you to make Mrs. Cathcart’s1 & my respects Acceptable to Mrs. Madison I have the honor to continue with the most respectful esteem Sir Your most obedient and devoted servant

James Leander Cathcart2

RC and enclosure (DLC). RC in a clerk’s hand, except for the dateline and signature. Docketed by a clerk, with JM’s notation: “Invoice with Mitchel.” Enclosure is a bill of lading dated 1 May 1809, signed by Christopher Child, master of the brig Madeira, at Funchal, Madeira. Child was to deliver “Four quarter Casks and Two Hogsheads of Wine” to Jacob Adams at Baltimore.

1Jane Bancker Woodside of Philadelphia had married Cathcart in 1798 and was a friend of Dolley Madison’s (Dolley Madison to Jane Bancker Woodside Cathcart, 20 Jan. 1827 [DLC: Dolley Madison Papers]).

2James Leander Cathcart, a native of Ireland, performed naval service during the Revolution. He was involved in diplomatic negotiations with the Barbary States during the Tripolitan War and served as American consul at Funchal, 1807–15 (Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 1:249, 2:46).

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