James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Hubbard Taylor, 15 November 1794

To Hubbard Taylor

Philada. Novr. 15. 1794.

Dear Sir

I recd. your obliging favor of the 22d. Augst. a few days before I left Virginia, and postponed acknowledging it till my return here. I now make use of the opportunity by Col. Innis, who is engaged in a Mission to Kentuckey for the purpose of explaining the public measures & present prospects relating to the Navigation of the Mississippi.

I thank you for the information you give as to the state of my deceased brother’s & my interest in your country; & particularly for your promise to make more accurate enquiries on that subject. Having left every thing in which we were jointly concerned to his management, I am more ignorant of it than you can well imagine, and must rely on your goodness & that of Majr. Lee, to supply the information for a proper settlement. All that I know & can recollect, is that one half the land on Panther Creek is mine, tho’ the Patents stand in his name only.1 This is well known to a number of our friends, and can produce no other difficulty than that of a friendly suit to establish the fact in the minority of my neice.2 The land sold to Col: Taylor3 was also a partnership property, and of course the payments in other land must be the same. The land yet to be surveyed on Sandy4 was wholly mine, but I promised my brother, in case he would get it surveyed & patented, he should have half of it. If you should be able to have the land secured as I hope will be the case, I shall do whatever equity & liberality can require on that head. I must ask the favor of your continued attention to this matter until Mr. Green5 shall have fulfilled his undertaking. I do not know who the person is acquainted with the beginning. If it should be Mr. Henpenstall,6 I am sure he will render any service he conveniently can. The expence requisite for this or any other business you may be so kind as to charge yourself with in my behalf, will always be punctually defrayed. My only concern is that I can not, as I would wish, in every instance, previously supply you with the means. Where-ever you can anticipate the amount however, and an opportunity offers, I hope you will make free to draw on me. It will be most convenient, where the case will admit, to make the bills payable at 10, 20, or 30 days sight according to circumstances. I shall write to Majr. Lee by this opportunity, and let him know that I have written to you. When you write again, which I hope will be soon, you will oblige me by being as particular on all these subjects as you can. I will thank you also to let me know the probable value of the several parcels of land I have mentioned, that is, the land on Panther Creek—the 1000 Acres got of Col. R. Taylor, & whether it was conveyed, or if so to my brother alone or to us jointly—and the land on Sandy.

This is the 12th. day from that appointed for the meeting of Congs. and the Session is not yet opened in form, owing to the want of a, quorum in the Senate. I cannot therefore send you even the speech of the President. The last despatches from Mr. Jay are said to promise a favorable result to his mission. It is probable that not a little will depend on the state of things on the Continent. This according to all accts. is turning more & more agst. the combined powers. The French have for sometime past been pushing their victories with more rapidity than ever. They have regained all their lost towns, and taken a variety of others; and the public is prepared to expect the news of further advances into the Netherland⟨s⟩ (perhaps even to Amsterdam) as well as into Spain where they have already forced their way with astonishing success. No letters public or private have been yet recd. from Col. Monro⟨e.⟩ It appears from foreign gazettes that his first inter⟨view with⟩ the Natl. Convention was marked with peculiar cord⟨iality ⟩ affection on both sides. As to the state of matters in the Western district of this State, you will have fuller as well as quicker information from the Spot. The result of the insurrection ought to be a lesson to every part of the Union against disobedience to the laws. Examples of this kind are as favorable to the enemies of Republican Government, as the experiment proves them to be dangerous to the Authors. Offer my regards to all friends & be assured of the esteem with which I am Dear Sir Yrs. affectly.

Js. Madison Jr.

RC (KyU: Hubbard Taylor Papers). Addressed by JM to Taylor in Kentucky, “Hond. by Col. Innes.” Docketed by Taylor. Damaged by removal of seal.

1On 16 Aug. 1780 Ambrose Madison patented two 1,000-acre tracts on Panther Creek that were not surveyed until 1797 (Jillson, Old Kentucky Entries and Deeds, p. 244; Jillson, Kentucky Land Grants, p. 205; “A List of the Lands belonging to James Madison of Orange County in Virginia, lying in the State of Kentucky,” 1793? [DLC: John J. Crittenden Papers]).

2Nelly Conway Madison, daughter of Ambrose and Mary Willis Lee Madison, married Dr. John Willis (1774–1812) of Whitehall, Gloucester County. By 1805 the Willises were living in Orange County (Lee, Lee of Virginia, p. 537; WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly. description ends , 1st ser., 6 [1897–98]: 27; John Willis to JM, 19 Aug. 1805 [DLC: Dolley Madison Papers]).

4On 12 Nov. 1783 Ambrose Madison patented 6,029 acres on Sandy Creek (surveyed in 1796) (Jillson, Old Kentucky Entries and Deeds, p. 123; Jillson, Kentucky Land Grants, p. 205).

5Willis Green (1752–1813) served as a second lieutenant in William Grayson’s regiment during the Revolution. He resigned his commission in 1778 and went to Kentucky “as a surveyor, to locate land warrants for various persons.” He represented Jefferson County in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1781–82, and attended the Kentucky conventions of 1785 and 1788. He served as deputy registrar of the Virginia land office for Kentucky, 1783–92, and Lincoln County clerk, 1783–1813 (DAR Patriot Index description begins National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR Patriot Index (Washington, 1966). description ends , p. 284; WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly. description ends , 1st ser., 6 [1897–98]: 211; Collins, Collins’ Historical Sketches of Kentucky [1878 ed.], 2:87–88; 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 , p. 381). On 1 Sept. 1792 Ambrose Madison urged Taylor “to hurry W. Green abt. the survey on sandy. I think the time given for surveying there expires in Deer. unless you[r] governmt should prolong the time” (KyU: Hubbard Taylor Papers).

6Abraham Haptonstall accompanied Hancock Taylor (JM’s second cousin), Willis Lee (Taylor’s cousin and Ambrose Madison’s brother-in-law), and Isaac Hite (cousin of JM’s brother-in-law of the same name) on a surveying expedition to Kentucky, 1773–74. He patented land on Panther Creek in 1780 and on the South Fork of the Elkhorn River in 1783 (Collins, Collins’ Historical Sketches of Kentucky [1878 ed.], 2:367, 549, 764; Lee, Lee of Virginia, pp. 536–37; Cartmell, Shenandoah Valley Pioneers, pp. 257, 260; Jillson, Kentucky Land Grants, p. 61; Jillson, Old Kentucky Entries and Deeds, p. 106).

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