James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Joseph Chew, 6 November 1783

From Joseph Chew

RC (LC: Madison Papers). Addressed to “James Madison Esqr. jr.” Cover missing. Under the heading of the letter, JM wrote “Chew Jos.”

New York 6th Novr. 1783

My Dear Sir

I1 find I omitted many things in my Letter of yesterday2 as I dare say I shall in this let me Request you in the first Place to let me hear from you on the Receipt of that Letter as soon as Possible direct for me to be Left at the Commissry Generals3 in the Next Place have the goodness to write to me4 in London and give me as particular Account as you [can?] of the Regulations that may be made with Respect to trade by Congress or any Particular State I Earnestly wish to know the situation of Trade in Virginia & the Demand for British Goods—of this I have wrote to my friend your Father.5 another matter be so kind as to give me your Opinion how I might Expect to be treated should [I?] Visit Virginia on Either the footing of seeing my friends or that of doing Business.6 if you could inform your self of these matters, and write me sometime Early in December or by the middle of that month it [would?] be of Essential service to me. in your first Letter Provided I Can Receive it in ten or 12 days from this date7 Pray be as Particular as you can as to our friends in that you write me to London let What you say be in General Terms for fear of a miscarriage I will not Trouble you further at Present than to Request when you see General Washington Present my Respects to him in a Particular manner, and to assure I am with the Greatest truth my Dear Sir your most Affectionate Kinsman8 &c

Jos Chew

upon second thoughts when you write the Letter to m[e] here direct it to be Left at the Post office to the care of John Foxcroft Esq.9 who in case I should go sooner than I Expect will forward it to me when you write to me in England direct for me

To be Left at the House of James Christee Esq.10 Pall Mall London

1Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , I, 69, and n. 5; JM to J. Madison, Sr., 27 May 1783, and n. 7. Chew had moved from Virginia to New London, Conn., by 1750. There he was a merchant, a member of the Susquehannah Land Company, and, from 1763 until probably 1775, the postmaster (Leonard W. Labaree, ed., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin [12 vols. to date; New Haven, Conn., 1959——], X, 319, n. 3, 362, n. 1; XI, 109, n. 2).

2Not found.

3In the New York City office of the British Commissary General Brook Watson (1735–1807), Chew was superintendent of the fuel department (Edward E. Curtis, The Organization of the British Army in the American Revolution [New Haven, Conn., 1926], pp. 107, and n. 95, 109–10).

4If JM answered Chew’s letter, his reply is missing.

5Chew’s letter to James Madison, Sr., has not been found. See Delegates to Harrison, 6 May; Randolph to JM, 9 May, and n. 14; 15 May; 24 May; Pendleton to JM, 2 June, and n. 4; 28 July; Harrison to Delegates, 7 June 1783, and n. 3.

6Jones to JM, 31 May; 8 June, and n. 26; 21 June, and n. 19; 28 June; 21 July, n. 6; Randolph to JM, 12 July, and n. 2; 13 Sept. (2d letter), and n. 1; Harrison to Delegates, 9 Aug. 1783, and nn. 3, 5.

7Chew probably intended to sail from New York with other Loyalists before or when the last contingents of British troops left that city on 25 November (Thomas J. Wertenbaker, Father Knickerbocker Rebels, pp. 267–68).

8Chew and James Madison, Sr., were first cousins (Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (7 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , I, 69, n. 5).

9John Foxcroft (d. 1790) had been secretary to Lieutenant Governor Francis Fauquier of Virginia from 1758 to 1761. In the latter year Foxcroft was appointed a joint deputy postmaster general of North America. From 1765 to 1775 he served with the same title in the northern district, which included Canada and the other colonies south through Virginia. He and his wife moved from Philadelphia to New York in 1765. After about three years (1776–1778?) as an American prisoner of war, Foxcroft returned to New York City, where he served as royal postmaster general (Historical Manuscripts Commission, eds., Report on American Manuscripts, III, 269). In 1783 he became the resident agent in that city for the British packet service (Leonard W. Labaree, ed., Papers of Franklin, IX, 378, and n. 7, 379, and n. 1; XII, 89, n. 3, 280–82; Pa. Mag. Hist. and Biog., XXVI [1902], 346; XXVII [1903], 501–2; XXVIII [1904], 122–23; XXXVIII [1914], 246; Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Sources, 1745–1799 (39 vols.; Washington, 1931–44). description ends , VI, 308; VII, 79; JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , V, 841; VI, 875–76, 885, 933).

10James Christie (ca. 1730–1803), founder of the well-known London auction house, first opened his “Great Auction Room” on Pall Mall on 8 July 1767 (Joint Publishing Committee Representing the London County Council and the London Survey Committee, Survey of London, XXIX, Part I [1960], 297). “With an easy and gentleman-like flow of eloquence, he possessed, in a great degree, the power of persuasion, and even tempered his public address by a gentle refinement of manners” (The Annual Register, or a View of the History, Politics, and Literature, for the Year 1803, XLV [London, 1805], 462).

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