James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Richard Taylor Sr., ca. 12 December 1804 (Abstract)

§ From Richard Taylor Sr.

Ca. 12 December 1804, “Tailors Retreat near Middle Town, Jeferson County,” Kentucky. “I Venture to take the liberty on republican principles, to Introduce my Son the Bearer of the return made by our Electors, for President, & Vice President, Some attention to my Son, will Confer an obligation on your friend—his Charactor I dont expect you have heard any thing of, or do I Suppose you know of my having Such a Son.1 Could I Venture on paper to give you a Just account of his mothers family, I know you Could not help having Some regard for my Son, If I Could be in your Company but a few hours, I Could Say a great deal in favour of his mother. I know Sir you are about to Condemn me, but I hope you will remember, I must be at that time a hail young man, that might be temptd to Violate the Confidenc⟨e⟩ placed in me, as marster of a Vessil, one great Consolation is to me, my Son very much respected and esteemed by the leading Charactors of this State, I expect every member from this State knows his Charactor, as he acted in Several expeditions against the Indians, as a Soldier, & an officer—my objec⟨t⟩ Sir is to inform you of the disabled Situation he must be in a very few years, from a dangerous wound he recd. through the Grind, he is allowed a pittance of a pention of thirty Dollars, if he Could be examened by Surgical men who on their report, I have not the least doubt but our Worthy President, would think it reasonable, to add to his pention, pray inquire into the particulars of his Charactor, as it will bear Scrutinising.2 I recd yr. favour of the 18 Octbr, 1803.3 Some little respect Shewn my Son, & a few lines to me, will be a lasting acknoledgement, of your friendship.”

RC (DLC). 1 p. Dated December 1804; date assigned here by comparison with Hubbard Taylor to JM, 12 Dec. 1804.

1Taylor’s eldest son, Richard Taylor Jr., later known as “Hopping Dick,” a nickname he received due to a war wound, is not to be confused with Taylor’s other son Richard Taylor Jr., who was one of ten children born to Taylor and his wife, Catherine Davis Taylor. The elder Richard Taylor Jr. served in campaigns against the Indians as well as in the War of 1812 (Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society 33 [1935]: 295, 36 [1938]: 337; Anderson, Donald Robertson and His Wife Rachel Rogers, 245–47).

2On 3 Mar. 1805 Congress awarded Richard Taylor Jr. an invalid pension of twenty dollars a month as a result of his having been “disabled by being wounded while” employed as an “escort, spy and guide … during hostilities with certain Indians” in 1792 (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 6:58).

3JM’s letter has not been found but may have been in reply to Taylor to JM, 12 Sept. 1803 (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 , 5:404–5).

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