James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Witherspoon, 20 May 1790

From John Witherspoon

Perth Amboy May 20. 1790

Dr Sir

I have just received a Letter on a very singular Subject which I will not write but inform You of at our first Meeting. It comes from a Clergy man of Nova Scotia of the Episcopal or roman catholic Church (for he does not say which) altogether unknown to me & contains a packet directed to a Mr Sterling Pleasant Mercht in Mecklenburg County Virginia with whom he says he is informed I am in habits of particular Intimacy. He has been wholly misinformed in this for I know no person of that Name. But as the Subject is of much Importance to Mr Pleasant ⟨&⟩ I seem to have been pitched upon for security of Conveyance instead of sending it away at Random I beg Leave to enquire of You or of any of your Colleagues whether You know such a Person as Mr Sterling Pleasant & also of his Character & Circumstances & what is the nearest post Town to him or proper Address by the Post. The Matter relates to a Child of his in a miserable situation.1 I have the Honour to be Sir Yours sincerely

Jno Witherspoon

RC (NjP). Docketed by JM.

1JM forwarded the letter addressed to Sterling Pleasants to Thomas Pleasants, Jr., who replied that there was “no such person of our family” and that the clergyman had become the dupe of “Some artful Woman” (10 July 1790).

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