James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Elkanah Watson, 18 August 1819

From Elkanah Watson

Albany. 18th Augt. 1819


Not knowing the names & residence of Presidents of Agricultural Societies in Virginia—I persuade myself You will take a pleasure in transmitting the enclosed1 directed to them—and this presumption must plead my appology. I am with profound respect and esteem Respectfully

Elkanah Watson2

NB If not so many Societies in Virginia please to transmit One to a President in Maryland

RC (DLC); enclosure (DLC: Madison Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Divison).

1The enclosure (1 p.; docketed by JM) is a prospectus, dated 10 Aug. 1819, signed by the Albany, New York, engravers Rawdon & Balch, offering for sale Certificates of Honorable Testimony “well calculated to promote the cause of Agriculture and Domestic Manufactures.” Included in the prospectus is a letter of recommendation signed by Elkanah Watson endorsing the work of the engravers. Blank specimens of the certificates evidently accompanied the prospectus (see JM to Elkanah Watson, 10 Sept. 1819).

2Elkanah Watson (1758–1842) was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and apprenticed at age fifteen to John Brown, a merchant of Providence, Rhode Island. After extensive travel in Europe and a series of commercial ventures there and in North Carolina, Watson settled in Albany, New York, in 1789. There he organized the Bank of Albany and promoted schemes for canals. After purchasing a large farm near Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Watson devoted himself to the pursuit of scientific agriculture, including the promotion of agricultural fairs, following the success of his “Cattle Show” in 1810.

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