To William Bradford
Virginia Orange County [5 September 1773]
If I did not love you too well to scold at you I should begin this with upbraiding your long silence contrary to your express promise and my earnest Solicitations.1 The Bundle of Pamplets you sent by the Post has miscarried[.]2 I would not trouble you with sending them again but perhaps if you would enquire of the Post they might still be discovered. I expect this will be handed to you by Mr. Erwin who has been kind enough to extend his Journey this far whose praise is in every mans mouth Here for an excellent Discourse he this Day preached for us.3 He will let you know every thing that Occurs to me worth mentioning at Commencement or Philadelpha if you should not attend the Commencement.4 Gratitude to him and friendship to yourself and Others with some Business perhaps will induce me to visit Philaa and Princeton in [the] Spring if I should be alive and should have health sufficient. I set too high a Value on Mr. Erwin’s Company to write much to you now and besides have the like office of Friendship to several other Friends.5
I am Dr. Sr. Yours most Affectionately
James Madison Junr.
1. Bradford’s letter of 12 August to JM was still on its way to Montpelier.
3. Nathaniel Irwin. “This Day” probably means Sunday, 5 September. Without dating this letter at its start, JM apparently wrote it on Sunday. Then, the next day, when he entrusted what he had written to Irwin’s care, he added Monday’s date at the close of the letter.
4. Although phrased ambiguously, JM evidently means that Irwin will relay Montpelier news to Bradford either in Philadelphia or at the College of New Jersey commencement on 29 September. On that occasion Irwin received an A.M. degree (New Jersey Archives description begins William A. Whitehead et al., eds., Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey (1st ser., 42 vols.; Newark, Trenton, Paterson, 1880–1949). description ends , 1st ser., XXIX, 51–57).
5. In other words, JM was in a hurry because he wished to write other letters, probably also to be carried by Irwin when he left Montpelier on 6 September for Philadelphia. To whom these other letters were addressed and their present whereabouts are unknown to the editors.