James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Barnes, 2 April 1814

From John Barnes

George Town, 2d. April 1814.


The contents of my worthy friend, Mr Alexr. Richards letter, is of so interesting a nature I could not, withstand the empressions of my feelings, to inclose it—for your perusal. Mr Richards was for many years, a Respectable shipping Mercht. in New York, but unfortunate, in his foreign Connections, which occasioned his removal to Madrid—a Justice of the peace—post masr. and Collector.1

In my Acquaintance with him for twenty years passed I always found him, the Gentlen.—of strick Honor and Integrity. His Situation is indeed—embarrsing—Critical, & even dangerous. Still however I am persuaded he will not swre. from doing his Duty Unless forced to it—by the Enemy. With the highest Respect I am Sir, your most Obedt humble servant

John Barnes.2

Indisposition alone, prevented me from addressing you personally.

RC (owned by Mrs. George B. Cutts, Wellesley, Mass., 1982). Enclosure not found, but see n. 1.

1Alexander Richards was collector for the district of Oswegatchie, New York, which included the port of Ogdensburg and the town of Madrid. His letter may have discussed dealings with the British by persons in his district, who sued him after the war for having reported on their activities (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 2:187, 190; Letter from the Secretary of War, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Accompanied with Statements of the Sums Awarded by the Commissioner of Claims, under the Act “authorizing payment for property lost, captured, or destroyed, by the enemy, while in the military service of the United States,” passed 9th April, 1816, and an amendatory act, passed 3d March, 1817 [Washington, 1818; Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 46378], 22–23).

2John Barnes (ca. 1731–1826), a Washington grocer, was appointed collector at Georgetown in 1806 by his longtime acquaintance Thomas Jefferson. Barnes also handled financial transactions for Jefferson, at least one of which had involved JM (Looney et al., Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, 1:32; PJM-PS, description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends 1:70–71 and n. 1, 197–98 and n. 1).

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