James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Strode, 9 August 1813

From John Strode

Allum Spring Mills near Fredericksburg 9 Augt. ’13


From a chain of fatallities, Over which I could neither have foresight or controle, I am left at this place without other business than that of those Mills, which is but Small indeed; under those circumstances it has by Some among the first of Characters been intimated, that I had better devote the remainder, (as I have the most) of my former, days to Some public business, among which, that of Collector of the National revenue, in one of the Districts perhaps might be confided to me, or any active employment, for which I may be considerd Competant.

If, (good and worth Sir) You can of Your Own knowledge of my abillities and integrity confer on me any trust, it Shall truly and honestly with unremitting Zeal and application be executed, no opportunity Shall be lost, or in the least neglected, to perform the duties which might be assignd to me.

My Son is about Selling his property in Va. and moving to His estate in Kentuckey; But for me, I have Several unsettled accounts, both for and against me, it would therefore be improper for me, to leave this State untill they are all fairly and honorably adjusted or put in a proper train, for the desireable purpose.

Pray be good enough to pardon & take into Consideration the contents of this note, and Condescendingly deign to honor it with a line in Answer—if necessary, I will on the least intimation do my Self the honor of personally waiting on you and remove beyond doubt, difficulties, should any arise.

I, the more earnestly, beg leave to Solicit the honor of an interview, on Account of the unsettled business between your private estate and me, of which there is some important Circumstances, indispensibly necessary for me to Communicate. With all due regard I am Sir Yr. devoted hble Servt.

John Strode1

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1As manager of the Rappahannock Forge in Stafford County, Virginia, Quaker John Strode (ca. 1735–ca. 1820) supervised the manufacture of firearms and other military supplies for Continental troops during the Revolutionary War. In 1779, he left the forge for health reasons and moved to Culpeper County, where he acquired various mills and other real property but encountered increasing financial difficulties that were brought to a crisis by the Embargo Acts of 1807 and 1808. Among Strode’s debts was one to JM for the then secretary of state’s 1807 wheat crop. This circumstance received unwanted publicity on 24 May 1808, when the Richmond Virginia Gazette and General Advertiser reported that Strode, upon being “dunned for the sum,” had replied that if JM would “take off the Embargo,” he would be paid. Strode wrote JM on 13 June 1808, enclosing copies of the notice and his letter informing the editor that JM would “during the present times be among the last who woud ask me for payment” (DLC). In 1810, still short of cash, Strode mortgaged a 168-acre parcel of land in Fauquier County to JM to secure the debt. He declared bankruptcy in 1811 and later moved to North Carolina, where he died (Jerrilyn Eby, Laying the Hoe: A Century of Iron Manufacturing in Stafford County, Virginia [Westminster, Md., 2003], 92, 110–22; Strode to JM, 7 Feb. and 7 July 1810, PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (6 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 2:223–24, 407).

Index Entries