James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James B. Pleasants, 6 April 1819

From James B. Pleasants

April 6th. 1819


I have taken the liberty of inclosing some observations for improving internal navigat[i]on, address’d to the President of the board of public works for Virginia,1 on which I do not ask an opinion, but if worth it, a free criticism, Liberal […]⟨o⟩bjections, being in my opinion the […] of projected improvement.

I had thought to have paid before this a visit to orange, for I thought thy friendly invitation for Washington might be transfer’d and I had rather see the Ex than the Ins[t]ald President but at no time did I decline a Visit for want of Respect

Jas. B Pleasants2

RC and enclosure (DLC). Cover docketed by JM. For enclosure, see n. 1. RC torn.

1The enclosure (4 pp.) is a copy of Pleasants to James P. Preston as president of the Board of Public Works for Virginia, dated 6 Apr. 1819, commenting on a report drawn by Thomas Moore on improving navigation on the James River. Pleasants suggested the running of a chain along the length of the river “to which all boats both asscending, and descending, might be attached … the superior weight borne to market would without any other power convey every boat that descends the river to every point from which it descended.”

2James B. Pleasants (ca. 1761–1847) was a Quaker inventor and a Maryland resident for fifty years (Daily National Intelligencer, 2 Mar. 1847; Brooke Hindle, The Pursuit of Science in Revolutionary America, 1735–1789 [Chapel Hill, N.C., 1956], 342; Pleasants to JM, 15 Jan. 1820).

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