James Madison Papers

John H. Lee to James Madison, 30 July 1829

Daviess Cty July 30th 29

Dear Sir

At the last fall term of the [F. B] Court I obtained Judgment against Bell & Tapscotts Exr in your favor I had requested Mr Crittenden to hasten on the Execution, the Marshal shortly after came to my House, we went to Owenboro & so with Bell on the eve of removing to New Orleans, we went in pursuit of the Boat in which Bell had a small amount of furniture; no Negroes or other valuable property the Boat was claimed by a person on Board, we left the furniture in charge of the person, & went in pursuit of some Negroes Bell eluded us & succeeded after night in taking water (with 4 Negroes, all he had remaining) for Orleans. Having failed to make any part of the debt out of Bell, I directed the Execution against Tapscotts Estate, & discovered that the whole of Estate had been conveyed by Mrs T soon after the suit was commenced, I found such a determination here to rescue the property from the payment of this debt, that I conceived I should not be doing you justice without having a personal interview with the Atty employed in the case: I went to Frankfort on the 1st of May & consulted with Mr Crittenden; who concured with me in opinion, that the best course we could pursue would be to commence Suit in Chancery, sell the land under a Decree, purchase for your benefit, & dispose of it to the best advantage—On my return home I recd yours of Apl 17, consequently delayed Suit until Griffiths return to Kentucky: I saw him on the 4 Inst & soon discovered that his promises were entirely delusive, most of the persons whom he designated as purchasers were present, not one of whom had either money or disposition to purchase. You will be no little astonished after Mrs Griffiths friendly overtures to learn that Mr G had exerted himself more than any other person in secreting the property of Ts Estate, & holds a Mortgage on five of the Negroes, for I believe, a very small consideration

I have to day heard of the death of Benjamin Bell at the Mouth of Cumberland, On the 5 Int I wrote to Mr Crittenden, & furnished him with all the information necessary to commence Suit The death of Bell may possible retard the Suit a short time; I have ascertained the names of his Heirs & inclosed them to Mr C—

I beg you to believe Sir, that the little attention necessarily devoted to this business is productive of no inconvenience to me Very respectfully, your ob Svt

John H Lee

N B Tapscott by Will directed that his wife should act as Executrix without security, the Court therefore required no security, believing the Estate solvent


RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

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