James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Philip Barbour, 8 June 1809

From Philip Barbour

Henderson, Kentucky June the 8th. 1809


I have been permitted by Governour Harrison in the praise of whose Judgement & descretion I Need Say Nothing, to Search for Salt Water in the neighbourhood of the U. States Saline, With the priviledge of using it during the Continuance of the present Case.1 I have sunk one Well in which there is an abundance of water, But of an inferior quality, from this Circumstance it Cannot be Manufactured into Salt at the price which is at present given by the U. States Agent. And as I have incurred Considerable expence in procuring the water and erecting furnaces, and as this labour and expence wou’d be an entire loss to me without some such arangment as the one I propose, I am induced to ask of you an extension of the priviledge granted by Governor Harrison to the expiration of the next lease or for the term of three Years. I shall be enabled to manufacture from twelve to fifteen thousand bushels of Salt per annum, which would further What appears to be the Cheif object of the Government to keep down the price of this article by supplying the increasing demand. From this representation, from your former knowledge of me I am Confident you will rely and from the Statement of Genl. Hopkins2 which is herewith forwarded you will be Convinced that the granting of the priviledge I Solicit will not either injure the interest of the lessees or that of the Government while it Will Confer an important favour upon one who has the Honor to be Your Freind & Hbe. Servant

Philip Barbour3

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM. Enclosure not found.

1An 1803 law authorized the president to control the working of a salt spring near the Wabash River “at the expense of the United States” or to lease the property to a private operator (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 , 2:235). Some of the president’s discretionary authority had been passed on to Gov. William Henry Harrison in the Indiana Territory. The original lessee had died, and a new lease apparently was delayed pending further legislation (Carter, Territorial Papers, Indiana, 7:398–99, 626).

2Maj. Gen. Samuel Hopkins’s statement has not been found. Hopkins (1753–1819), a native of Albemarle County, served in the Virginia line during the Revolution and later migrated to Kentucky. He settled near Henderson, held a variety of state offices, and was a Republican presidential elector in 1808. He commanded the western frontier during the early stages of the War of 1812 and served in the House of Representatives, 1813–15 (VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. description ends , 34 [1926]: 381; BDC description begins Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774–1971 (Washington, 1971). description ends , p. 1140).

3Philip Barbour (fl. 1800) probably moved to Kentucky from either Orange or Culpeper county. He held extensive land patents in Kentucky acquired before statehood (Willard R. Jillson, comp., The Kentucky Land Grants [Louisville, 1925], p. 18; Willard R. Jillson, Old Kentucky Entries and Deeds: A Complete Index … [Louisville, 1926], p. 13).

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