James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Vincent Bramham, 28 January 1811

From Vincent Bramham

Monday Evening January 28th. 1811

Dear Sir,

Not until last night did I receive your letter1 owing to my absence from home. Few can lament your Ill health more than I do, and few very few wou’d rejoice more were your health perfectly restored.

The Collectors office2 to which your friendly confidence calls my attention occasioned me to day to make some enquiries as to the duties and lucre thereto attached. Poor Muse (who seems extremely unhappy at the distracted state of his affairs) gives me no information calculated greatly to rouse my Anxiety: he says the profits at present, after deducting incidental and unavoidable expences, are very inconsiderable; And I think the lowering appearences of the Multiform restrictions on neutral commerce betoken no hope of a Speedy change. The Sacrifice of my accustomed habits for a Town residence cou’d not be prudently warranted for a much less sum than $1.000 per Annum.

You my dear Sir are contiguous to that department of State where a correct knowledge as to the profit can be satisfactorily obtaind; and your Superior discernment in the probable state of our future commerce whereby the Emoluments of the office may be encreased render you more competent than I am to decide, therefore I most willingly confide to your better Judgment to propose me or not: and in the event of my appointment be well assured your friendship and preference of me Shall not be abused.

I have not been inattentive to your request as it respects your little Kentuckey friend, and am informed by Thompson he certainly will not start earlier than about the 1st. of April. At any time to hear from you will afford the sincerest pleasure to Dr Sir yours very truly

Vin Bramham3

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Letter not found.

2JM was seeking to fill the position of collector for the district of Tappahannock after the removal of Laurence Muse, who had held the position since 1794 (see 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 , 15:244 and n. 1). On 30 Jan. 1811 John Tayloe sent JM letters he had received from Thomas Brockenbrough and John Haile, dated 26 and 27 Jan., requesting that Haile be appointed to the post. JM nominated Haile on 5 Feb., and after Senator William Branch Giles of Virginia had the nomination referred to a select committee, the appointment was confirmed on 19 Feb. (Tayloe to JM, 30 Jan. 1811, and enclosures [DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17, filed under “Haile”]; 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 , 2:165, 167).

3Vincent Bramham represented Richmond County in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1801–5 and 1818–26 (Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , p. 350).

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