James Madison Papers

William Maury to James Madison, 17 September 1831

Liverpool 17 Sept. 1831

My Dear Sir,

I send in the Ship which bears your < >, a hamper filled with soil, in which are planted as many Strawberry runners as I could insert, & I have directed Capt. Garrick to give them in charge, either of Mr S Mon<clure> of Petersburg or Richard Anderson of Richmond, either of whom I direct to forward to you—they are intended for Mrs Madison’s garden, & are of the kind termed "Vi<cese>s Seedlings": having tried several modes I find Vic<ese> plan the best; make the beds 3 feet wide, plant 2 rows in each at 2 feet distance in the row, each plant 18 inches apart—They should be in a moist situation rather than otherwise, & not under the shade or drip of any trees—Vi<cese> also remarks, that in August you should plant runners for new beds, but leave them in their temporary situation until the frost has disappeared & then put them out where they are to fruit; I therefore should recommend their being left in the hamper until Spring & then planted out; I give these directions presuming that the plants will < > out alive.—

I think my Gardener mentioned that he placed in the hamper 6 or 8 plants of another sort, termed Wilmots superb—They have a smaller, rounder leaf, thicker & of a darker Green. The fruit is very large & as like an artificial strawberry as any thing can be, the first instances I recollect of such a sport of Dame Nature, to copy the works of the artists in Derbyshire who saw Strawberries & many other fruits in their Native Spas–

Will you tell Mrs Madison, that I sent to our friend for the receipt to destroy worms, but the lady was at that time & ever since has been in such a state of health as to preclude the visits even of myself; There was a letter sent to Ann by her daughter & possibly it contained the receipe, but Mr. Myers informs me he has been proved a Quack—Salt & Lime or a solution of them are good, but in pouring it too near my Box < edging> it destroyed £5 worth, as well as the worms.

I will send to Mrs M some flower seeds this autumn, & if I can save it, some of the Lupinus Mutabilis, the most beautiful of that tribe of plants which has ever been seen & possessing a perfume as strong & fragrant as the Orange Flower; it also continues in Flower from June until the Frost—

I think I have said enough about the Garden; and I must now thank you for the flattering reception which you gave to that young man my Father; I would have given much to have witnessed your meeting; eighty one and eighty five after an interval of half a century or near it!

What changes you must have seen & he witnessed! I have only received one letter from him since his arrival—but from Ann we hear frequently & sorry am I to hear that the road from Fredericksburg to Orange Court House remains in the state in which I left it—That to the Springs I was not disappointed with her description of.

The Reform bill has at length passed the lower house, except the third reading which, as a matter of course will be permitted on Monday next—This will cause the tug of war, but the Lords must pass it; & perhaps in 50 years, a bill similar to that proposed for the Peers in France, may pass for those gentlemen here, but it will require 25 years more before education be sufficiently diffused for a——(I hesitate tho one of them & proud of it)——Republic.

Next year I believe that we shall see your predictions verified as to the Corn Laws. I do not know whether you recollect the conversation, but I do one evening when I was with you; you stated your firm conviction that they would be changed to a fixed & moderate duty for the interest of the manufacturs. I agreed as to the policy, but thought that the power of the Landed Interest was too great—now, however, I hope & believe that that interest must succumb, & as you remarked the Landed Gentry might lay out their property in Parks & beautiful Grounds & depend for food upon that Country which could furnish it cheapest—This indeed is the prevailing idea, & that the extra taxes will be lightened next year by touching the funded interest

As to the Tobacco duty, it is the wish of the present Government to lower it to 1/6 & they would I am satisfied go to 1/. if the Government of the U: S: would reduce the duty upon the manufactures of this Country—Both in my humble opinion would be benefited; Here, 30,000 in place of 15000 Hhds. would be consumed & with you a much larger portion of British Goods at lower rates to the consumer; however, General Jacksons < men> are not thought of here except as to the ridiculous exposé which I hope has in the change compensated for the deficiency in the Government since he has been at the head of it.

As much to my astonishment as it would have been to yours, the late French Consul offered to me 2 months since that situation, as Vice—I wrote, asking Col Aspinwalls opinion, who stated, that I should not in accepting violate any right as Citizen of the United States—I accepted——Desiring my respectful compliments to Mrs Madison, believe me to be yours truly

William Maury


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