James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Monroe, 25 September 1804

From James Monroe

London Sepr. 25. 1804.

Dear Sir

This will be delivered to you by Col: Tatham1 who I have known for more than 20. years, at first a clerk of the council at Richmond. I have seen him here from my arrival to this period, frequently, and at his request, as he is about setting out for America, give him this to you. I consider him as a firm friend to the UStates of wh. he is a citizen, being there thro the whole of our revolution. He has been employed here in considerable trust, in the case of the London docks, as an Engineer, and is thought to possess much information in all questions in mechanics, the use of water to mec[h]anical purposes, in canals &ce. I think him an honest and active man, and am persuaded that opportunities may be offered in the UStates, in which he may be useful to his country, while he draws from his services some emolument to himself. I am dear sir sincerely yr. friend & servt

Jas. Monroe

RC (DLC, series 7, container 1). RC submitted to Congress with Tatham’s 10 Feb. 1806 letter offering to sell his collection of “manuscripts, materials, instruments, apparatus, &c. applying to promote the science and practice of public economy, and to improve the individual and public wealth of the country” as well as his patent rights in some of the items contained in the collection (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1832–61). description ends , Miscellaneous, 1:457–61).

1Civil engineer and geographer William Tatham (1752–1819) was born in England and emigrated to America in 1769. After serving in the American Revolution, he became clerk of the Virginia Council of State, studied law in Virginia and North Carolina, and was admitted to the bar in 1784. He returned to Europe in 1796 and in 1801 was appointed construction supervisor of London’s Wapping Docks. Following his return to the United States in 1805, he spent several years as draftsman and geographer in the State Department. In 1817 Monroe appointed him to a government position in Virginia. He apparently committed suicide in 1819 by stepping in front of a cannon during a Washington’s birthday celebration (PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (5 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 2:269 n. 1).

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