James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Digges, 27 November 1815

Ft. Warburton Novr. 27 1815

I hope my valued and highly esteemd Friends Mrs. and Mr Madison will not attribute my long absence & a seeming withdrawing from Them, to any want of respect regard or affection but place it to the true causes--ie that of the Eventful incidents during the autumn & fall of 1814, which occupied my whole mind and vocations, (adding thereto the weight of age 76, with sickness, Rhuematics & achs for the last six months) and as yet denying me the free use of the saddle: For Sir I have not been outside of my own gates or ridden 20 miles since I parted with You on the Bladensburgh road on the memorable (and in my mind happy day for our Country as it broke party spirit & opend the Eyes of many) the day of conflagration. I have been but twice in the City, & then pr. Steam boat, since that period, and am more than commonly anxious for another voyage in Her since hearing of Your return.

I am convalessant & hope soon to spend some days in the City, having unsettled accots since Jany. last to settle in ye. W office wanting due vouchers & verifycations from the disgraceful break-up of Marsteller, Bartle & Co. on the 7 July last.

In the circle of 10 to 20 miles round this we planters & farmers have been afflicted with shortest Crops of Corn & small grain ever known--not Even a quarr. of Expected Crop has been obtained. The poor class’s have of consequence experience & will severely suffer thro. the winter. There is not food or forage for 1/3d. of their cattle, & in this way I am a sufferer myself, & should have sufferd e’er this most severely for farming incomes, but from ye. relief given me by shipments of my laid by housed Tobaccos pr. first Ship which started from the Rivr. for Amsterdam consignd to Willinks & Son and which netted me on Sales there above 32£ 15s stg pr. Hhd for common Tobos. upon which sales & remittance to Murdoch I got 10 pr. Ct. on the Dutch Bill remitted therefor to London and 18 pr. Ct. premium on my bills on Murdoch. This was for common Crop not heavy & some of them seconds--wheat (what little I had saleable) at 175~180 Cts pr. bushell--Oats 75 Cts and Corn selling at 5-1/2$ pr barl. while ye. Crop was green. Labourrs. wages none hardly under a dollar a day--Tradesmens twice or thrice higher.

But yet sir "The Country is ruind" "Trade at a stand" "Marine Commerce all but broken up" "all confidence lost in an imbecile & profligate-expending government" "Taxing the poorer people above their means" &ca. &ca. Such was the assertions of the tub-orator federalists at the last Piscaty. Election & doubtless many of the listening ignoramus’s swallowd it as fact. Those Torey aglefied Demogogus seemd to be getting more bold & violent in their assertions at a time when their party voters were gett⟨ing⟩ less and when to Every impartial observer The Country & its increasing Commerce were obviously progressing for the better. Many mus⟨t⟩ have felt the differenc of the last winters price 3$ pr. Ct. for Tobo. while it was buying up in Octor. for 10$ pr. hund.

I hope You Sir have been one of the many sufferers by this "ruin to our Country" in getting from 15 to 25$ pr 100 for Your mountain Tobos. and your 180 Cts for Wheat in lieu of the late shamefully restricted sales for that article. I hear Tob⟨o.⟩ has been as high as 27$ Pr 100 at Richmond an unheard of "ruinous" pri⟨ce⟩.

I long to read the articles of what I concieve a most happy & advantagious Peace--The planners of which as well as the actors in the negociation deserve well of their Country. The subsequent measure of chastisemt. to the Barbary Rascals is a happy climax to our marine warfare and must vex John Bull in the proportion of the high Credit & exlted situation our Country is put in by the whole of Continental Europe. Go on my good Sir in doing well for our rising & happy Country & recieve the benefits of it. I am wth. grt. sincereity Yrs.

Thos. Digges

Majr. Nourse & two others harbourd wth. me late last night as comeing from ye. Steam boat From Confinemt. to my room I have not yet seen him but will ask Him to drop this at yr. Hotel My Comps. to Mr. Cutts & wd. be much obligd by his aid in forwarding me any Cast by French or Engh. papers.

DLC: Papers of James Madison.

Index Entries