James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Philip P. Barbour, 1 December 1822

To Philip P. Barbour

Montpellier Decr. 1. 1822

Dear Sir

The enclosed letter1 not having come to hand before your departure for Washington, I cannot so well comply with the request of the writer as by forwarding it for your perusal. Should you think his object a reasonable one, or entitled to a fair consideration, a word of explanation from you to the Secy. of war & the Attorney General, if proper at all, may be more so from you than from me and can not certainly be of less avail. I am indeed without the least information on the case, beyond what is gathered from the letter itself. Of the character of the writer, tho’ my personal knowledge is of old date, I am authorised by all the evidence short of it, to speak favorably. He has been ever represented as remarkable for an honest frankness, and a warmth of good feelings; and as a firm patriot through all the vicissitudes of the times, from the commencement of the Revolution to the present. I have understood too that his present distress is the consequence of no fault but that of a liberality and benevolence, indulged beyond the limits of prudence. With this view of Mr. Ts character & situation, I can not but wish him success in his pursuit, if within the rules by which Congress are of necessity to be gover[n]ed.

Draft (DLC).

1This letter has not been found, but it was likely from Richard Taylor Sr. of Kentucky, who had been struck off the pension list “on account of his being a Publick defaulter.” Taylor had an invalid pension due to wounds suffered as a captain in the Virginia navy during the Revolutionary War, but there is no evidence that he held public office or was in a position to disburse public moneys (David White to Samuel L. Southard, 9 Apr. 1824, DNA: RG 15, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800–1900; Taylor to JM, 26 Sept. 1816, DLC).

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