James Madison Papers

From James Madison to John Taylor and James Garnett, 10 September 1819

To John Taylor and James Garnett

Montpellier Sepr. 10. 1819

Dear Sir

I am requested by Mr. Elkanah Watson of Albany to forward to each of the Presidents of Agricultural Societies in Virginia, a blank Copy, such as is inclosed, of “a certificate of Honorable Testimony”; apologizing for the indirect transmission, by his not knowing the gentlemen for whom the copies are intended. The request is accompanied with information, that the Publishers Rawdon & Balch being indemnified against loss by two patriotic individuals, & the certificates being regarded as well calculated to excite emulation in Agricultural & manufacturing pursuits, the engraved work is recommended to the patronage of the Societies having these for their objects. The price is stated to be $10 per hundred copies; & it is intimated that the publishers will furnish from a handsome plate “Diplomas of Membership” at $10 per hundred on paper, or $9 per dozen on parchment. Be pleased Sir to accept assurances of my great esteem & respect.

James Madison

Draft (DLC). Addressed to: “John Taylor. Presidt. A. Socy. Virga. & Js. Garnett Esqr. P. &ca&.” John Taylor, known as John Taylor of Caroline (1753–1824), a Revolutionary War veteran, Virginia state legislator, and U.S. senator, 1792–94, 1803, 1822–24, was an influential Republican voice for limited government, strict construction, and states’ rights. Though he and JM had known each other since their boyhood days at Donald Robertson’s school, Taylor found JM’s politics to be insufficiently Republican and opposed his candidacy for president in 1808 as well as the War of 1812. A writer on political and agricultural topics, Taylor served as president of the Virginia Society for Promoting Agriculture and delivered his presidential address in 1818. James Mercer Garnett (1770–1843) was a Virginia state legislator who served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1805–9. As president of the Fredericksburg Agricultural Society, 1817–37, he wrote on a wide array of agricultural topics and was an influential voice for crop rotation, the use of fertilizers, better seed, and other measures to enhance productivity.

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