James Madison Papers
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From James Madison to James Madison, Sr., 25 February 1787

To James Madison, Sr.

N. York Feby. 25. 1787.

Hond. Sir

I forgot in my last1 to mention the explanation given by Mr. House concerning the Tobo. The conjecture as to the omitted Hhd was right. The calculation of the weights is to be made as follows, taking the weight of the first parcel of 6 Hhds for an example.2

C qr. lb
69. 1. 4. 790. .
C
69. = 6900
69 × 12 828
1 qr 28
4 lb 4
7760
790
6970 lb. Nett.

The success of Genl. Lincoln agst. the insurgents has corresponded with the hopes of the Government.3 It is still said notwithstanding that there remains a great deal of Leven in the mass of the people. Connecticut has not caught the fermentation but she pays no taxes. Congs. recd. a letter a few days ago from the Govr. of that State inclosing a noncompliance of the Assembly with the requisitions of Congs.4 In fact payments to the federal Treasy. are ceasing every where,5 and the minds of people losing all confidence in our political System. What change may be wrought by the proposed Convention is uncertain. There is a prospect at present of pretty general appointments to it. We have no late information from Europe. Let Majr Wm. Taylor know if you please that his Acct. can not be settled under the existing regulations of Congs. The Officer for this departmt. not having been here at the date of my last I could not then give him this information. I shall prepare & present a Memorial to Congs. on the subject as soon as an opportunity opens.6 I find there are so many officers in a similar situation with him that I think relief will not be refused. Give my regards to the family and believe me Yr. Affe. Son

Js. Madison Jr

RC (DLC).

1Probably the missing letter of 10 Feb. 1787.

2JM was figuring in hundredweights, quarters of a hundredweight, and pounds. with a hundredweight equaling 112 pounds. The 790 pounds apparently was a set amount deducted for wastage, etc.

3Lincoln reported his rout of Shays and his men near Petersham on the morning of 4 Feb. 1787. Secretary at War Knox transmitted Lincoln’s account to Congress on 12 Feb. (PCC: JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXXII, 39).

4The Connecticut General Assembly at its October 1786 session passed a resolution “that his Excellency the Governor be desired in a Summary manner to Inform his Excellency the President of Congress by Letter the Situation of this State labouring under Embarrasments [sic] by Reason of Arrearages of former Taxes and other Reasons inducing a noncompliance with the Requisitions.” Gov. Samuel Huntington sent the resolve under cover of a letter dated 15 Feb., in which he further explained the reasons for noncompliance—the expenses of the late war, the heavy fiscal burden on the people, and the arrearages of taxes. The resolution and letter were read in Congress on 26 Feb. (PCC; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXXII, 80 n. 1).

5A Board of Treasury report, dated 7 Feb., was read in Congress 12 Feb., stating that to their knowledge no states except Virginia had passed any acts of compliance with the general requisition of 2 Aug. or the special requisition of 21 Oct. 1786 and that consequently there was “no prospect of sufficient Funds coming into the Treasury in season to enable this Board to make provision for Payments on the Foreign debt” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXXII, 33–34).

6Maj. William Taylor (d. 1830) served in the Revolution from 1776 to 1781. He probably was a son of George Taylor of Orange County and brother of Francis Taylor, the diarist. The Madisons and Taylors had close family ties and it is likely that Major Taylor asked JM to take care of this business for him. The petition of a William Taylor for the settlement of his accounts was received by Congress on 12 Mar. 1787 and referred to the Board of Treasury to report. No further action was reported, and the petition has not been found (Heitman, Historical Register Continental description begins F. B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution (Washington, 1914). description ends , p. 535; Hayden, Virginia Genealogies, p. 673; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXXII, 107 n. 3).

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