James Madison Papers

From James Madison to James Madison, Sr., [ca. 12] February 1782

To James Madison, Sr.

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Years later, JM docketed the letter, “Madison Js Feby 1782.” Following the signature at the close of the letter, JM’s father added, “This letter was wrote about the 12th. of Feby. 1782.”

[ca. 12] Feby 1782

Hond. Sir

A conveyance by a waggon returning to your neighbourhood this moment presenting itself I make use of it to forward you a collection of papers which have accumulated since the last supply. If there are any deficiencies be so good as to point them out to me. By the same conveyance I send to Mr. W. Maury 4 English grammars the price of which is 3 dollars which he is to remit thro’ you.1

The disappointment in forwarding the money by Mr. Brownlow2 has been sorely felt by me, and the more so as the Legislature has made no provision for the subsistance of the Delegates that can be relyed on.3 I hope some opportunity will soon put it in your power to renew the attempt to transmit it, & that the delay will have made considerable addition to it. Besides the necessity of this supply for the common occasions I have frequent opportunities here of purchasing many scarce & necessary books at 1/4 of the price which if to be had at all they will hereafter cost me.4 If an immediate conveyance does not present itself for the cash, I wd. recommend that a bill of exchance on some merchant here be got of Mr. Hunter, Mr. Maury5 or other respectable Merchant; & forwarded by the post. This is a safer method than the, first, and I make no doubt is very practicable. I wish at all events the trial to be made & that speedily.

I recollect nothing new which is not contained in some of the late papers. present my affectionate regards to all the family. I have not time to add more, than that I am your dutiful Son

J. Madison Jr.

1In his letter of 1 August 1781 to his father, JM had also mentioned forwarding Philadelphia newspapers, along with six English grammars for the Orange County schoolmaster, Walker Maury (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (4 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , III, 206–7). Apparently JM was endeavoring to accumulate at Montpelier for his own reference in the future, as well as for his father’s more immediate use, a complete file, probably of the Pennsylvania Packet, and wished to be informed of any missing issues. In the left-hand margin of the letter, opposite JM’s sentence about the grammars, appears in his father’s hand, “Mr. Maury pd. 18/ & 2d for Bal. of the other Dollars.”

2Probably John Brownlow (1753–1816), a Fredericksburg commission merchant whose connections in times of peace were with mercantile houses in Liverpool, England (Fredericksburg City Records, Hustings Court Will Book B, pp. 3–4, microfilm in Virginia State Library).

5James Hunter, Jr., whose business interests were now directed from Richmond (Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, LVI [1948], 18), and James Maury, a prominent Fredericksburg merchant.

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