James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert Taylor, 16 September 1804

From Robert Taylor

Septr. 16th. [1804]1

Dear Sir

I have not attempted as yet to prepare the writing proper for you &ca. to execute, because from what passed between us it appeared to be necessary to confer with your brother William.2 I have not seen him but believe he has certainly returned. It is presumed from the latitude of the power intended to be given me that advancements, other than land & slaves, will be involved in the decision—how am I to know what each amounts to? This ought to be agreed, unless there is some controversy what is an advancement in which case the circumstances ought to be stated. It will be entirely impossible for me to close the accounts &ca. before your departure, three days at least of next week will be taken up with court—& then follows Orange & district courts. I have detained the servant & sketched off the condition of an arbitration bond, which if approved can be copied under an obligatory part which any one can draw. If it is not full enough you can insert the omission or erase any thing improperly included. If all explanations are to be received from your brother William does it not strike you that it will give him a great advantage in the settlement. It is not intended to insinuate that any improper impressions would be attempted by him—but the most upright man upon earth will view his pretensions partially. I have not the memorandum of your father respecti⟨n⟩g the lands intended for Miss N. Madison3—this will be wanting to draw the deed between you. I expect to return on tuesday evening from Culpeper court. I am Yrs. afftely

Robert Taylor


1The year was added in pencil at a later time.

2Taylor was preparing documents for settlement of the estate of James Madison Sr. For the difficulties involved, see PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 2:125–26 n. 1; see also Chancery Court Decree in the Case between James Madison and William Madison and Others, 3 Mar. 1803, ibid., 4:387.

3For the memorandum, see ibid., 2:197 n. 2. For an earlier mention of the Kentucky lands belonging to JM and his brother Ambrose, see Taylor to JM, 17 Feb. 1804, ibid., 6:492.

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