James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Alexander White, 17 February 1794

From Alexander White

Woodville 17th. Feb: 1794

Dear Sir

I have to acknowledge your favr. of 4th instant1 with the enclosures, and in return as usual can say little except with respect to the weather which has been so mild as to carry of[f] the late snow and leave the grain exposed to the various changes of season which may take place, but for want of more important subjects will enter into a Family detail commencing with an event probably known to you, the marriage of Nelly Hite with Mr. Theodorick Lee last April.2 A similar Union took place between Sally Hite and Mr Alexr Pitt Buchanan of Baltimore 14th Ulo.3 With them Betsy Briscoe4 is gone, and Polly Hite5 is with her Sister Lee, so that we remain solus cum sola unless A White whose scene of Action or rather scene of thought is the Office can be considered of our company. Thus situated; the correspondence and Miscellaneous communications of absent Friends become the more engaging. Are Mr. Priestly or Mr Couper the Author of Reports The Task &c yet in Philadelphia?6 Do they intend this way? How do they like our Country? Mr Toulman I understand has a high opinion of Kentucky as a farming Country. He spent some time with me before he went there; I was much pleased with his company, and to render the scene more agreeable Miss Madison was of the party. Has our Friend our Republican Friend Page made his appearance yet?7 If he has give my particular Complts. and tell him he has neglected me as he was among the first I wrote to. Adieu And believe me sincerely yours

Alexr White

P. S A letter from a Gentleman in Baltimore this moment informs me, that the Court of G B. has demanded from America a categorical answer to this Question—What part will you take in the War? Is this true?

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Letter not found.

2Catherine (Nelly) Hite was the youngest of three daughters of John Hite of Winchester and the granddaughter of Jacob Hite (whose second wife was JM’s aunt Frances Madison Beale Hite). On 20 Apr. 1793 she married Theodorick Lee (1766–1849), the younger brother of Henry, Charles, and Richard Bland Lee. The marriage was performed by the Reverend Alexander Balmain (husband of JM’s cousin Lucy Taylor), who later presided at JM’s wedding (Lee, Lee of Virginia, pp. 298, 372–73; Davis, Frederick County Marriages, pp. 47, 129).

3Sarah (Sally) Hite was a sister of Catherine Hite. Alexander Balmain presided at her wedding to Alexander Pitt Buchanan. Her mother, also named Sarah, was Alexander White’s second wife (Cartmell, Shenandoah Valley Pioneers, p. 255; Davis, Frederick County Marriages, pp. 22, 129).

4In 1791 Elizabeth Briscoe was married at Winchester to JM’s friend and political ally Archibald Stuart of Augusta County (Tyler’s Quarterly description begins Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine. description ends , 9 [1927–28]: 284).

5Mary (Polly) Hite was a sister of Catherine and Sarah Hite (Cartmell, Shenandoah Valley Pioneers, p. 255).

6White confused the English reformer Thomas Cooper with the poet William Cowper. Joseph Priestley, Jr., and Cooper visited America in 1793, seeking a site for “an English settlement in America.” Cooper returned to England and in 1794 the renowned liberal Dr. Joseph Priestley, Sr., immigrated to the U.S. He was soon joined by Cooper (Dumas Malone, The Public Life of Thomas Cooper, 1783–1839 [New Haven, 1926], pp. 75–76, 79–80).

7John Page took his seat in the House of Representatives on 7 Feb. (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 3d Cong., 1st sess., 437).

Index Entries