James Madison Papers
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Francis W. Eppes to James Madison, 15 April 1828

Tallahassee April 15. 28.

Dr. Sir

I have a young friend here who wishes to obtain the appointment of District Attorney for Key West, a district lately erected in this territory: and as we have been for the last eight years intimately associated & he has during that period uniformly sustained for mind, information, and integrity, the highest character, I am emboldened by the consideration earnestly to solicit your aid in promoting his views. Mr. John K. Campbell, has been for several years at the bar of N. Carolina, and in proof of his legal qualifications, can adduce the testimony of its most respectable members. He has also been admitted to practice here and being young, without friends and of extraordinary merit I feel deeply interested in his obtaining a situation, that would bring him at once into notice. You will oblige me infinitely My dear Sir, if you can without violating any settled principle for your government in such cases, by addressing a line in his behalf to Mr. Wirt or to the proper authorities. Mr. C. was the friend and protegée of my late Father and I willingly stake my own credit in support of his merits.

I return in a few days to Virginia completely satisfied as to the health fertility, and delightful climate of this unrivalled country. The varieties of soil in so small a compass, exceed conception. You pass immediately from the highest degree of fertility to the utmost sterility The rich lands are small in extent, and obvious only to accident, or diligent enquiry, which fact may in some degree account for the discrepant reports carried to Virginia. it is quite possible to pass through the territory and not see an acre of good land, but a moderate degree of exertion will bring to light a soil, equal, if not superior to any in Virginia. Many who come here even with the view of settlement never leave Tallahassee, and consequently never see any lands but the pine barrens through which the roads carry them. I witnessed here on the 7th. of this month a frost which prostrated the corn and cotton crop. It is said to be of unusual occurrence but its simply occurring proves, our climate of the U. S. consistent throughout in its sudden variations of temperature. it is perhaps less variable here than elsewhere. The health of the territory will I fear suffer from the Georgian system of clearing lands, introduced here, in its full extent. The undergrowth only in an immensely heavy timbered country is cut out; the rest deadened, and left to poison the atmosphere as it slowly decays. The sugar crop is as yet in its infancy no fair experiment has been made: and no staple on an extended scale tried, but Sea Island Cotton. This yields a nett profit of 230.D. to the hand. provisions are immensely dear, and the price of land from the influx of emigrants swelled much above the level which it will ere long find. With many apologies for this trespass on your time believe me dear Sir respectfully and sincerely yr. friend

Frans. Eppes.

RC (DLC). Docketed by James Madison.

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