James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Larkin Smith, 10 November 1791

From Larkin Smith

Virga. King & Queen Novr. 10th. 1791


You will pardon I hope the intrusion I am about to make, in the solicitation of your advice respecting a claim; which I think in justice ought to be established against the united States in my favor. The claim is founded upon the following circumstances. From the commencement of the late war untill the year eighty two, I was annexed to the army in different characters; at which time (from the circumstance of my geting married) I imprudently wrote a letter inclosing my commission as Captain of Cavalry to Colo. Moylan, requesting him to make my resignation to the Commander in cheif. This I believe he did not do, nor can I learn that the resignation was known from any other event, than that of my being left out of the two last muster rolls, which regulation took place by the direction of Colo. Moylan. Admiting that my commission had been regularly received, at that late period (indeed so much was this the case, that I believe not a gun was fired in defence of america, after my leaving the army, and the general peace was concluded subsequent thereto but a very short time) I think you will agree with me, that my situation must be peculiarly hard in being deprived of the commutation and it must be the more so, as officers who came into army six or eight months before its dissolution were entitled to all the emoluments that those were who served from the origin of the revolution. The favor Sir that I request of you is, that you will be so good as to give me your opinion whether the whole or any part of the commutation can be obtained by presenting a memorial to Congress. Should you suppose that I can meet with any success in this business, I will attend with the necessary vouchers for the support of my claim. But should you concieve otherwise, I shall be governed by your counsel and will do nothing farther in the business. I am Sir with real esteem and respect Yr. Most Obt. Servant

Larkin Smith1

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Larkin Smith (1745–1813) of Rickahock, King and Queen County, was the stepson of Oliver Towles. In Col. Stephen Moylan’s Fourth Continental Dragoons he rose to captain in 1780. He served his county as a delegate in most of the sessions from 1784 to 1803 and as justice of the peace from 1785. Virginia awarded him 4,000 acres for his Revolutionary War services, but no evidence of a federal claim made during his lifetime has been found (DAR Patriot Index, p. 627; VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. description ends , III [1895–96], 392; XII [1904–5], 321; Resolutions on Revolutionary Claims, p. 439; Gwathmey, Historical Register of Virginians, p. 722; Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , pp. 239, 429; CVSP description begins William P. Palmer et al., eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts (11 vols.; Richmond, 1875–93). description ends , IV, 74).

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