James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George W. Erving (Abstract), 1 June 1805

§ From George W. Erving

1 June 1805, London. No. 60. “The inclosed is copy of a letter from Baron Jacobi the Prussian Minister at this Court, & of my reply, respecting the estate of a certain Major Ludemann.1 The Baron, probably from a want of information as to the nature of our constitution, has imagined that this private affair may be controuled by the government; but as what he asks at present is only ‘to be made acquainted with the reasons of Mr Heths refusal’ to settle the Estate, I have thought it unnecessary to enter into any particular explanation, but that it was proper to give merely a civil answer; & to transmit the communication to you, to be disposed of as you may think proper.”

Adds in a postscript: “Mr John Livingstons bill in the Somerset Miller has just been presented; your letter of Jany 12th mentions that he had been instructed to draw for 17,420 Dollars; equal to £3919..10s.. Sterling; but he has drawn for—3989..12..5 that is for 70..2..5—too much by your Estimate; & by mine as stated in my letter of May 18th for 74..19..1—too much. As his letter of advice mentions that he has drawn by your order I will honor the bill to the amount stated in your letter,2 & have given an answer to the holders conformably & to prevent mistakes in writing; viz ‘I will pay on this bill 3919..10 as soon as in Cash for Mr Livingston, & request that it may be presented again on the 17. July.’ “

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, CD, London, vol. 9). RC 2 pp. This letter was received at the State Department ca. 10 Aug. 1805 ( Jacob Wagner to George Hay, 10 Aug. 1805 [DNA: RG 59, DL, vol. 15]). For enclosures (3 pp.; docketed by Wagner as received in Erving’s 1 June dispatch), see n. 1.

1The first enclosure is a copy of Baron Jacobi-Kloest to Erving, 12 May 1805, inquiring about the estate of Wilhelm Lüdemann, “Major in the service of the United States” who died in Richmond, Virginia, in 1786 leaving “1600 Dollars in certificates and 1666½ acres of land” to his sisters, Christina Sophia Lüdemann Hampe and Catharina Juliana Lüdemann Keidal. In 1788 they received a copy of his will naming William Richardson and Henry Heth executors. In 1793 the heirs empowered Albert Lukamp of Baltimore to act for them, but all they had been able to learn was that Heth was in possession of the estate and refused to give it up. Jacobi-Kloest was ordered by his court to request that the U.S. government ascertain why Heth refused to deliver the estate and compel him to do so. The second enclosure is a copy of Erving’s 15 May 1805 reply stating that he would forward Jacobi-Kloest’s letter to the U.S. government and informing him “that the most regular & expeditious mode” of settling Lüdemann’s affairs would be for his sisters to empower one of the Prussian consuls in the United States to take whatever legal steps might be necessary.

2See JM to Erving, 12 Jan. 1805, PJM-SS, description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (9 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends 8:469–70.

Index Entries