James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from James Breckinridge, 27 November 1819

From James Breckinridge

Near Fincastle Nov. 27th. 1819

Dear Sir

I have had the pleasure of receiving yours of the 4th. inst.1 with the Charlottesville post mark of the 15th. a few days ago & would have immediately answered it if I could have done so satisfactorily. The delay has arisen from the apprehension of not being able to get a conveyance for the clover seed. I can spare the quantity you want (10 busls.) from my own crop but I dread the uncertainty & danger of water transportation to any point on James river convenient to you & therefore have taken time to look out for some other mode of conveyance. Mr. James Gordon2 of my neighbourhood, tells me that in the course of about 4 weeks he will have occasion to send a cart or small waggon into your neighbourhood for a family of negroes & has promised to drop the clover seed at some point convenient to you, of which you will be advised. The article is very scarce & high here. Small quantities have been already sold at $15 pr. busl. $14 is the lowest price I have heard mentioned & unless you think that a prohibitory price I will charge it. Gordon says the carriage will be a mere trifle.

I will leave home in a few days for Richmond where I will be detained during the session of the Legislature. Directions will be left for getting the seed ready for Mr. Gordon & he will call for it unless you should advise me not to send it on by a line addressed to me in Richmond. If any accident should prevent Mr. Gordon’s sending into your neighbourhood & water transportation must be used, what point on the river would you prefer & to whom consigned? Or would not Richmond be the best? It will cost no more to get it there than to any intermediate point, & I suppose opportunities of getting it conveyed from thence to your house, must frequently occur.

Mrs. Breckinridge & the young Ladies beg that you will give their love to Mrs. Madison. Be pleased to add my best respects & regards and accept for yourself assurances of my sincere friendship.

James Breckinridge3

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Letter not found.

2James Gordon (1787–1825), son of Nathaniel Gordon, proprietor of the tavern in Gordonsville, Virginia, lived near Fincastle, Botetourt County, Virginia (Hayden, Virginia Genealogies [1973 reprint], 249, 250; Richmond Enquirer, 26 Jan. 1822).

3James Breckinridge (1763–1833) was a Revolutionary War veteran, lawyer, and planter from Botetourt County, Virginia. He served in the House of Delegates, 1789–91, 1796–1802, 1806–8, 1819–21, and 1823–24, and in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1809–17. Breckinridge was appointed a visitor of the University of Virginia in 1819 and served until his death (Kneebone et al., Dictionary of Virginia Biography, 2:208–10).

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