James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Alexander Hamilton, [ca. 5 October] 1789

To Alexander Hamilton

[ca. 5 October 1789]

Dr Sir

The bearer will deliver two of your books which have been some time in my hands. I add to them a pamphlet recd. not long since from France. I can not recommend it because I have not read it. The subject tho’ a hackneyed is an interesting one, and the titles of some of the chapters promising. You will soon discover how far it may be worth your perusal.

The inclosed letter to Genl. Schuyler requests the favor of him to make some enquiries relating to a Man in his Neighbourhood with whom Monroe had some dealings which concern me as well as himself. Be so good as to forward the letter by the conveyance you think best.

There is a young man here of the name of Reuben Burnley, who comes from Virga. with the accts. of that State agst. the U. States.1 His father, a neighbour of mine is anxious to get him into some of the offices as a Clerk, and has written pressingly to me on the subject.2 I mention the circumstance under the fullest impression of the multiplicity of similar applications which you must experience. Perhaps the Auditors office which will require a number of Clerks, may not yet be entirely filled. The young man is well recommended to me for his diligence fidelity and capacity. Yrs. sincerely

Js. Madison Jr

RC (DLC: Hamilton Papers). Docketed by Hamilton. This letter is dated 20–28 Nov. 1789 in Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (25 vols. to date; New York, 1961—). description ends , V, 531. The approximate date has been determined from JM’s enclosure of his letter to Philip Schuyler of 5 Oct. 1789. Hamilton’s letter to JM of 12 Oct. 1789 is a reply to this letter.

1Reuben Burnley (1766–1808), son of Zachariah Burnley, had arrived in New York with the Virginia accounts around 11 Sept. He continued his employment as a clerk for William Davies until 1791. In a report of the civil list of February 1793, Burnley was listed as an engrossing clerk of the House of Representatives (VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. description ends , XXXVII [1929], 350; CVSP description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts (11 vols.; Richmond, 1875–93). description ends , V, 23–24, 27, 172, 180, 226, 268; Zachariah Burnley to Thomas Jefferson, 28 Feb. 1790 [DLC: Washington Papers]; American State Papers, Miscellaneous, I, 59; Alexandria Advertiser, 18 May 1808; John Edwards Caldwell, A Tour through Part of Virginia in the Summer of 1808 …, ed. William M. E. Rachal [Richmond, 1951], pp. 16–17).

2The younger Burnley probably carried Zachariah Burnley’s letter to JM of ca. August 1789 with him to New York.

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