James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Benjamin Joy, 20 December 1809

From Benjamin Joy

Boston 20th Decr 1809


Fully persuaded that it is your desire to promote Justice and equity throughout the United States, I beg leave to lay before you the inclosed printed copy of a memorial which has been committed in the House of Representatives to the committee of Claims.1 I have taken this liberty Sir presuming you would be willing to have a copy by you to refer to when convenient & that you would have the goodness to excuse my thus intruding on you if it was wrong. As I am perhaps unknown to you Sir I shall not attempt to comment on the memorial or say any thing of the distress which many persons here have experienced in consequence of the unfortunate transaction therein mentioned I will only beg to be permitted to say that indubitable proof can be given that the purchasers here were in no measure accessory or in any way knowing to any fraud which might have been committed in Georgia. I am with the Highest Respect Sir your most obedient Humble Servant

Benjn. Joy.2

RC (DLC). For enclosure, see n. 1.

1Joy probably enclosed To the Honorable, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States. The Memorial of the Directors of the New-England Mississippi Land Company, Citizens of the State of Massachusetts (n.p., n.d.; Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801-1819 (22 vols. to date; New York, 1958-). description ends 32240). JM’s copy of this pamphlet is in the Madison Collection, Rare Book Division, Library of Congress. Joy was one of seven company directors who signed the memorial, which sought a final adjustment of the company’s claims to Yazoo lands. Ezekiel Bacon introduced it in the House on 14 Dec. While secretary of state, JM had served on the commission that recommended a compromise settlement, but the matter was still before the Supreme Court during the winter of 1809–10 (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States ... (42 vols.; Washington, 1834-56). description ends , 11th Cong., 2d sess., 729; C. Peter Magrath, Yazoo: Law and Politics in the New Republic: The Case of Fletcher v. Peck [New York, 1967], pp. 35–36, 65).

2Benjamin Joy and his brother George (who had met JM in New York by 1791 and corresponded with him) were sons of the Loyalist exile John Joy. After the Revolution Benjamin Joy returned to his native Boston, served as U.S. consul at Calcutta, 1792–95, then became an investor and real estate developer of Beacon Hill (George Joy to JM, Nov. 1791, PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1-10, Chicago, 1962-77, vols. 11-17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977-91). description ends , 14:92–94 and n. 5; PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (2 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984-). description ends , 1:30–31; Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 1:126; Benjamin Joy to Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., 4 Nov. 1795 [DLC: Washington Papers]; Harold and James Kirker, Bulfinch’s Boston, 1787–1817 [New York, 1964], pp. 148–49, 161).

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