James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Richard Cutts, 27 May 1817

To Richard Cutts

Montpellier May 27. 1817

Dear Sir

I have rcd. your two letters of the 21. & 22d.1 They came by the same mail. I return the letters inclosed in them.

I missed the sale of my flour at the moment most favorable, in consequence of a trip to Charlottesville which I could not avoid,2 and which prevented the intended trip of Eddins3 to Fredg. My crop is still on hand, with the exception of a few barrels, which were disposed of before I got home at $13. What I am to get for what is unsold is altogether uncertain. The present price at Fredg. is not more than $11. and vibrates with every intelligence true or false from foreign Markets. The fly has made great & extensive ravages in this State; in this quarter especially. But for the very favorable weather for some days past, the fields would in many cases have scarcely yielded the seed put into the ground. In weak land the product will still be very trifling. Where the soil is strong a ⅓ or ½ crop may be the result. But this forms a very small proportion of the prospect. And as the harvest will be necessarily belated, and on that account exposed to another formidable enemy, the rust, it is impossible to decide more at present, than that the growing crop can not exceed a scanty one. I hope you will not be disappointed in the flattering prospect afforded by your stake in another article.

Will you be so good as to request Mr. Gales4 to address his paper for me by name & to Orange Court House. It comes very irregularly & deficiently; and I suspect in consequence of Montpellier being the seat of Govt. in Vermont, and Va. being so abridged in the address as to be mistaken for Vermont. In one instance the paper arrived with a note that it was returned from Montp: in Vermt. Will you also be so good as to ask Col. Bomford when you happen to see him, whether he recd. a letter from me5 in answer to one from him,6 on the subject of Gun Stocks. Mrs. M. writes to Mrs. Cutts,7 whom we hope soon to have with us. Can’t you accompany her. Affe respects.

James Madison

RC (MHi). Docketed by Cutts.

1Letters not found.

2This was the first official meeting of the Board of Visitors of Central College on 5 May.

3Abraham (Abram) Eddins (d. ca. 1832) was a son of Joseph Eddins of Madison County, and later Orange County, Virginia. In 1796 he married Mary (Polly) Graves, daughter of Madison County landowner Thomas Graves, who gave his son-in-law 658 acres in that county in 1804. By 1816 Eddins had moved to Orange County where he had bought land and owned sixteen slaves. About 1817 he succeeded Gideon Gooch as JM’s plantation manager and became a trusted family friend especially to JM’s mother, Nelly Conway Madison, who appointed him, along with JM and William Madison, an executor of her estate (Vi: Orange County Will Book, 6:287–88, Will of Joseph Eddins, 17 Feb. 1808; ibid., 7:453–55, Will of Abraham Eddins, 18 Feb. 1832; Mattern and Shulman, Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison, 402; John Vogt and T. William Kethley Jr., Virginia Historic Marriage Register, Madison County Marriages, 1792–1850 [Athens, Ga., 1983], 28; Vi: Madison County Deed Book, 27:96; Vi: U.S. Federal Census Records, Orange County, Virginia, 1820; Vi: Orange County Will Book, 7:134–38, Will of Nelly Conway Madison, 28 Nov. 1807, with codicils 8 Jan. 1817 and 7 May 1818).

4Joseph Gales, Jr. (1786–1860) was a British-born North Carolinian who learned the printing trade from his father and namesake. In 1810 he became the sole proprietor of the Washington newspaper, the National Intelligencer, and vigorously supported JM’s administrations. In 1812 his brother-in-law, William W. Seaton, became a partner, and together they published, in addition to the newspaper, by 1813 called the Daily National Intelligencer, a Register of Debates in Congress (29 vols.; Washington, 1825–37), the Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States.… (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56), and American State Papers (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61).

5Letter not found.

7Anna Payne Cutts (1779–1832) was a younger sister of Dolley Payne Madison who had lived with the Madisons from the time of their marriage in 1794. Anna married Massachusetts congressman Richard Cutts (1771–1845) in 1804 and had seven children by him. The family settled in Washington permanently in the fall of 1816, and in early 1817, President Monroe appointed Cutts second comptroller of the U.S. Treasury (Mattern and Shulman, Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison, 398; Richard Cutts to Thomas Todd, 16 May 1817 [ViU: Richard Cutts Papers]; 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 , 3:92–93).

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