James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Elkanah Watson, 12 October 1812

From Elkanah Watson

Pittsfield Massts. 12h Octr 1812


The Inclosed Sample of Cloth was made of my wool—under my direction 12/4 wide from loom, finished a little Short off 7/4—with elegant hair lists. At the Cattle Show & Fair in this place—this ps. obtained the prize of 50$ a struggle of 4 Counties—which I surrendered to the workmen.

The result fairly devolopes a very important item in the resources of Our Country, the ps. was 23 yds. long. One half will be exhibited t’morrow befor the Ligeslatur in Boston—the other half—has gone to different public char[a]cters in the State of New York—except a Patern of 2¼ yds—Inclosed in a Packet & directed to you Sir. & will be delivered by the Honl. ⟨Mr?⟩ Bacon Member from this County or rather district.1

It was my intention to have transmitted it by an eairlier oppertunity—as that is imposible I Judg’d it proper to apprize you off the intention. I am Sir with profound respect & esteem Your Obt. St.

Elkanah Watson2


1The Republican representative from Pittsfield was Ezekiel Bacon, who wrote to Gallatin from Pittsfield on 13 Oct. 1812 to complain about deficiencies in army pay and clothing. Gallatin apparently forwarded the letter to JM (DLC; 3 pp.; docketed by JM).

2After several failed business ventures in Europe and the U.S., Elkanah Watson (1758–1842) settled in Albany in 1789, where he organized the Bank of Albany and promoted several canal projects and other internal improvements. Relocating to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1807, Watson turned his attention to scientific farming and husbandry. He is most widely known for his promotion of agricultural fairs, beginning with his hosting of a “Cattle Show” in 1810, which led to the formation of the Berkshire Agricultural Society later that year (William R. Deane, A Biographical Sketch of Elkanah Watson, Founder of Agricultural Societies in America, and the Projector of Canal Communication in New York State [Albany, 1864], 3–11, 14).

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