James Madison Papers

George W. Spotswood to James Madison, 10 August 1834

Kanawha Salenis Augt 10th 1834.

My dear, & Honoured Sir, 

My Son Doctr. Spotswood will leave us today for Philadelphia, he expects to spend a few days with his friends in Orange, by him I have sent you a fair Specimen of the salt made at the furnace of Donally, Noyes & Patrick which Salt is made by Steam Evaporation the furnice is situated immediately on the Banks of the great Kenhawa, It is a building of considerable length well covered in The Cistern which holds the water is nearly the length of the whole house, or shed through its Center & under the water say at the lowest Extremity & in the middle of the Cistern is a Box or pipe that passes from end to end this box or pipe is half wood & half Iron through which the Steam passes—before the salt water is put in the Cistern it is first boiled, drawn off to a Cistern which contains many hundred or Thousand of Gallons—from this Cistern it is taken to the one where it undergoes the process of Evaporation, about 200 bus. are made daily at this furnis & sells at the works abt. 25 Per Cent more than the common salt, which sells at the furnace for 22 cents Per bus. This Salt is made with considerable less labour than Salt made the common way & requires fewer hands, The patent right for making this Salt was purchaced by Mr. Patrick in Newyork where it did not succeed but here it succeeds to admiration; I have looked the papers over & over again in hopes of seeing some thing relating to my dear friends of Mt.Pelier but have met with no thing as yet that is perfectly satisfactory, I have seen a notice of your Health and have had my mind some what relieved, I wrote to my friend Todd some time ago beging him to give me every information As to your Health & my dear Mrs. Madisons, but he never replied to it, That scourge of the human family the Colera I am sorry to say has made its appearance amongst us There has been as yet but 25 or 30 Cases & -< >12 deaths in this neighbourhood & Charleston mostly negroes, & mostly proceeded from imprudence in eating green Corn, Cucumbers & other vegitables impropper to be used at such times, I have heard of no new Cases this morning & I pray God we may be spared from this afflicting disease progressing beyond what it has; My House is now filled with a family very much afflicted, Doctr. Cabell formerly of Linchburg and a very wealthy salt manufacturer, had a few days ago been amusing himself with his family upon there fears relative to eating of Cucumbers, & the day before yesterday, he indulged himself in eating a large quantity & drinking butter milk in a few Hours he was dead of the most violent Cholera his family will remain a few days with me & thus proceed to Linchburg, Thus by the boasting imprudence of the Doctr. he has lost his life & left a large family to deplore his loss, he died worth abt. 150,000$ & left only 5 Daughters; Mr. Patrick would be pleased if you wd. express your approbation or opinion in the papers of hi[s], Salt or if more agreeable were you to write me a letter & permit me to put in the papers such part as you may underline. Its a new istablishment just set up & your observations will have a considerable deal of weight, I have concluded to send this letter by mail my Son will take charge of the Box & leave it in the care of Mr. Chapman (O. Ct. He) I am happy to say my Family are well, my Daughter has been some time at Winchester Kentucky staying with Judge Clarke where she will remain some months, please to present our loves to Mrs. Madison and accept from us my Dear beloved & Honoured Sir for yourself every assurance of affecte. frindship

George W Spotswood

P. S. I shall start on foot for Washington abt. the 20th of Novr. & hope to call on you, I feel a Kind of pride to perform this Trip on foot my object in going to Washington is to persevere in the prosecution of Capt. Spotswoods claim for revolutionary Services—


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