James Madison Papers

From James Madison to James Madison, Sr., 10 August 1796

To James Madison, Sr.

Augst. 10. 1796.

Hond Sir

You will learn from Sam that we all continue much as when you left us. I was down at the Mill yesterday & found the work going on properly. It is of importance however that the abutment should be well secured before much rain comes; as it is found that a small swell in the river will accumulate at the dam so as to overflow it; and as the dam is rather higher than the Bank of the river, the water in that case will be very troublesome to the unfinished work. Frailey1 had not returned, but several hands, Garten & others, had joined the force working on the Mill. Melton had the good fortune to have all his hay stacked the evening before the rain set in. The fall of water since the 6th. has been 1 6/8 inches. We have heard nothing from my sister Madison more than that she had proceeded from Mr. Macon’s for Norfolk. This account was brought by Col. Barbour returned from Richmond. I send a bundle of the last Northern papers. Dolly unites in best affections to my mother & yourself. If we should be able to pay you a visit it will be in the course of the next week. Yr. affe. son

Js. Madison Jr.

Mr. Howard has been here, and examined the Clock without perceiving any thing amiss. On making her strike she struck truly; & has continued to do so ever since. So that it is probable the cause lay in the position of the pallet which happened to be rectified by his moving it.

RC (DLC). Addressed by Dolley Madison to JM’s father at Healing Springs (in Bath County). On the cover, James Madison, Sr., wrote inquiries concerning points of law:

“Q. If the P. gives the Deft. Cr. for an article, the value or quantity, he cannot ascertain, but was his duty to do it, & is willing to submit the value to a Jury, what will be the consequence if the Dt. should afterwards bring a Bill in Chy against the Plt. to declare the quanty. or value.
“Q. If the P. on tryal calls on the Deft. to bring forward his offsets, if any he has, & that he is willing to allow them if they are just, & that D. refuses to do it, but brings a Bill agst. the P. & should recover, on it, will he be entitled to recover his costs, that he was at in the suit at common Law.
“Q. Will the D. in Chy. be obliged to answer for articles the P. calls for, when he never rendered an Acct. of them to the D.
“Q. Will the depositions taken in suit at common Law be admitted in a suit of Chy., if not to be had afterwards.”

1The millwright Adam Frailey had built a mill for Isaac Hite in Frederick County and was helping the Madison family build a gristmill in Madison County (JM to James Madison, Sr., 10 Mar., 5 Oct., and 17 Nov. 1794, PJM description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (1 vol. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984—). description ends , 15:276, 277 n. 2, 361, 362 n. 1, 384 and n. 2).

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