To James Madison
Jan. 12. 1791
My Dear Sir
It being impossible to entertain a doubt that the horse I bought of you was fairly sold, and fairly bought, that his disorder was of the instant, and might have happened years after as well as when it did, so as to exonerate you as is justly established, from all responsibility, I should as soon think of filching the sum from your pocket, as of permitting the loss to be yours. I therefore send you a check on the bank for 95.26 Dollars including the two balances. Yours affectionately
RC (DLC: Madison Papers). Not recorded in SJL.
The sudden death of the horse TJ had purchased from Madison the previous autumn and the efforts of the two steadfast friends to come to terms about its value—problems further complicated by the matter of settling for expenses shared on their journey southward—provide an illuminating episode concerning the relations of mutual trust and generosity existing between them. TJ paid an advance of $50 on 26 Dec. 1790 on the expenses. This, Madison felt, overpaid the account for traveling costs and refunded $23.26. TJ insisted on paying the exact cost of the horse, $83.33. This, together with the expense account of $38.66, made TJ’s total indebtedness $145.26. Deducting the advance, he sent with this letter a remittance of $95.26 (Account Book, 12 Jan. 1791; Brant, Madison, iii, 321–2, and Ketcham, Madison description begins Ralph Ketcham, James Madison, New York, 1971 description ends , p. 318, reckon otherwise).