James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Ambrose Madison, 8 November 1786

To Ambrose Madison

Novr. 8th [1786]1

Dr Brother

I have yours by Mr. Parker. I can by the time you mention pay the money to the Treasr. or settle it with him, but I do not chuse to treat with him about the matter before hand, farther than to tell him that I will be answerable by that time. To ask a favor wd. be improper. I shall have a demand on the Treasy. independt. of my wages on the 2d of Decr. If on these grounds The Sheriff be willing to let you have the money, you may take it & give me notice. Can’t2 Father spare you the £80 for immediate purposes? 200 Drs. will certainly be in my hands at the time I mentioned if the Treasy. be not totally destitute. And I have some hope of a previous supply of a sum at least equal to that. I can’t answer by Mr. P. what relates to Anderson. Mr. Balmain’s advertisemt. will be sent to the Printer,3 but he will be pd. for it. I beg you to throw no little matters of business into my hands that can possibly be avoided, havg. no time to attend to them. Yrs

Js. M Jr

RC (NN).

1JM omitted the year in his dateline, but internal evidence indicates that he wrote this letter in 1786. JM alluded to the same people and financial matters in other letters to his father in the autumn of 1786 (16 and 24 Nov., 7 and 12 Dec.) and to Monroe (30 Nov.). He mentioned specifically that he had £50 for his brother Ambrose and that the “200 drs. due on the 2d. inst: are also ready” in the letter of 12 Dec. 1786 to his father. Furthermore, a notice of the Reverend Alexander Balmain’s marriage to JM’s cousin Lucy Taylor appeared in the newspaper several weeks after JM indicated he would send “Mr. Balmain’s advertisemt.” to the printer.

2JM wrote “Mr” before “Father” here and failed to delete it.

3The advertisement most likely was the notice that appeared in the Va. Gazette description begins Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser (Richmond: Thomas Nicolson et al., 1781–97). description ends on 22 Nov. 1786 announcing, “Married. The Rev. A. Balmain, of Frederick, to Miss L. Taylor, daughter of E. Taylor, Orange.”

The Reverend Alexander Balmain (1740–1821) was born near Edinburgh, Scotland, and came to Virginia before the Revolution. A minister of the Protestant Episcopal church, he settled in Winchester and was rector of the parish of Frederick for about the last thirty years of his life. For some years he maintained a school in Winchester. He married Lucy Taylor on 31 Oct. 1786, and in 1794 he himself performed the marriage ceremony for JM and Dolley Payne Todd (Bishop Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, I, 20, 31; II, 285–87; Hayden, Virginia Genealogies, pp. 22, 674–75; James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, eds., Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography [6 vols.; New York, 1887–89], IV. 282; Ketcham, James Madison, pp. 4, 381; Everard K. Meade, ed., “The Journal of Alexander Balmain, D.D.,” Proceedings, Clarke County Historical Association, IX [1949], 5–24).

Index Entries