From James Taylor
Lexington Ky Nov: 7h 1818
My dear Sir
I do my self the pleasure to introduce to your acquaintance our relation Richard Taylor Jr, son of the Commodore,1 who makes a visit to Va. on some land business. I flatter my self you will be pleased with his acquaintance, I assure you there is not a man of more Correct deportment in our Country.
He will be able to give you particular information as to our Connections & as to the affairs of our Country generally.
I had the pleasure of breakfasting with our friend Judge Todd yesterday mor[n]ing & dining with him on that day at Col Ch. Todds.2
Mrs. Todd is in good health except a Complaint in one of her breasts, which is mending. The children are in good health. I have not had the pleasure of seeing my brother since I came up, both himself & his Son Hubbard3 are on a visit to the Green river Count[r]y.
My brother Reuben & his family4 are expected out daily & it is possible he may have arrived.
Will you be so good as to present my best Compliments [to] my good friends the old Lady & Mrs Madison, and assure them I was much pleased to learn from Mrs Todd of their good health.
I am about building & am now preparing for it. I was much pleased with a house of Mrs Carters near Green Mountain5 & Mr Edwd. Coles recommended it to me as he passed down the river. Mrs Madison would particularly oblige me by procuring for me a rough draft of that building. The form & size of the rooms the entrances & c. thro’ the entry or vestuble [sic]. And I would be glad of Mrs. Ms or your suggestions of any improvements you might ⟨think?⟩ ⟨pro?⟩per to recommend. The sooner I could have this favor done me the better as I am preparing my cut stone. If Mr Ed: Coles has returned I am sure he would be good enough to have the drawing made for me. And if he should not be at home some of the other gentlemen I am sure would do it for me.
Please to tender my best respects to my friend Mr. Todd.
It would give me great pleasure to receive a line from either your self or Mrs. Madison. I have the honor to be with great respect Dear Sir your friend & St.
P S. I am up here with my son James to place him at the Transylvania University, at the head of which is the Celibrated Doct Holley.7 He is hourly expected out. I am much pleased that the Central College of Va. should be placed in your section of the Country, and that your self & the good Mr Jefferson take such a lively interest in its prosperity.
RC (DLC). Docketed by JM. Addressed to JM at Montpelier and marked, “Richd. Taylor Jr. Esqr.”
1. Richard Taylor (1749–1825), was James Madison Sr.’s first cousin. A commander in the Virginia State Navy during the American Revolution, Taylor rose to the rank of commodore. In 1794 he settled in Kentucky on lands granted to him for his war service (PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (6 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984—). description ends , 2:4 n. 4). The bearer of this letter was Richard Taylor Jr., the commodore’s second son by this name, and one of ten children born to Taylor and his wife, Catherine Davis Taylor. The elder Richard Taylor Jr. had been introduced to JM in 1804 (PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (8 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986—). description ends , 8:376 and 377 n. 1).
2. Charles Stewart Todd (1791–1871), the son of Thomas Todd and the son-in-law of former Kentucky governor Isaac Shelby, was a graduate of the College of William and Mary, a lawyer, and a veteran of the War of 1812. He served as U.S. minister first to Colombia, 1820–24, and later to Russia, 1841–46 (The Biographical Encylopaedia of Kentucky … [1878; reprint, Easley, S.C., 1980], 518–19).
3. Hubbard Taylor (1760–1845), a distant cousin and the Madison family agent for Kentucky lands, migrated to Kentucky from Caroline County, Virginia, in 1790 (PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (8 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986—). description ends , 1:208 n. 3; Hubbard Taylor to JM, PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77, vols. 11–17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977–91). description ends , 17:49–50 and n. 1). His son, Hubbard Taylor Jr., a Winchester, Kentucky, lawyer, served in the Kentucky legislature, 1829 and 1839 (Biographical Encylopaedia of Kentucky [1980 reprint], 29; Hayden, Virginia Genealogies [1973 reprint], 681).
4. Reuben Taylor (1757–1824), the son of George Taylor of Orange County, Virginia, was a Revolutionary War veteran who was awarded bounty lands and settled in Kentucky (National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR Patriot Index [3 vols.; Washington, 1990], 3:2893; Kathleen Jennings, Louisville’s First Families: A Series of Genealogical Sketches [Louisville, Ky., 1920], 126–27).
5. Robert Carter (1778–1809), who married Mary Eliza Coles, began building Redlands in Albemarle County, Virginia, in 1798 (Elizabeth Langhorne, K. Edward Lay, and William D. Rieley, A Virginia Family and Its Plantation Houses [Charlottesville, Va., 1987], 54–55).
6. James Taylor (1769–1848) was a contractor for the U.S. arsenal and barracks at Newport, Kentucky, and served as a militia brigadier general. He was a distant cousin of JM’s (PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (6 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984—). description ends , 1:25 n. 3).
7. Horace Holley (1781–1827) was a Yale-educated Unitarian minister who was president of Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, 1818–27. Holley visited Montpelier in April 1818 on his way to Kentucky and described his visit in a letter to John Adams, 3 July 1818 (MHi: Adams Papers): “Mr Madison I found at home, and spent between three and four days with him in a most agreeable and interesti[n]g manner. He enquired much after you, and your mode of spending your time. His own is divided between agriculture, books, his papers, his correspondence, and company. He is cheerful and active, and is improvi[n]g his health by his agreeable avocations. He remembers with great distinctness the past history of our country, and ⟨c⟩an detail events and eras with great accuracy. He has a similar taste to yours in theological inquiries, but has never attended so much to the philosophy of mythology, although he is liberal and rational in his opinions concerning religion. Our presidents are all remarkable for their freedom from sectarian views and feelings on this subject. Mrs Madison, I think, is in more danger of ennui in retirement than her husband. She loves society, and is well adapted to enjoy it.”