James Madison Papers

James Madison to James Francis Madison Shepherd, 8 December 1825

Montpellier Decr 8. th. <11>

Dear James

Your letter of the 20th. Ult. was not recd. till yesterday afternoon. I find on recurring to my files and my memory, that I can afford no evidence of the fact in question I have nothing from the pen of Docr. Shepherd that alludes to it. In a letter of April 7th 1821. He says "A family of the Negroes that belonged to my brothers Estate have been taken back for the benefit of Betsy Shepherd: if you think proper to subscribe $500 towards paying for them, it will be thankfully recd. The money is now due." In a letter of April 20. 1825 a copy of which is inclosed, there is nothing which implies a purpose on his part to make a contribution. Would not his administration acct shew by the payment for the purchased negroes whether a part was drawn from his as well as from my subscription. In a letter from your mother to me of May 14. 1821. she says my object is that an arrangement may be made for those Negroes to be bought in & secured. The Docr. I am confident will only say, what he has already said to me, that they must be sold and that he could devise no plan by which they can be purchased. I flatter myself, my uncle, by what passed between us, that you will not let me lose them. The probability is that they wi<ll> go low, as they will be sold by the Sheriff"

As to my recollection it amounts to no more than that I wished the Docr. to join in aiding your mother. It is not unprobable that I might also have expected, or hoped that he would do so but I have no recollection, that he ever gave my pledge or promise that this would be the case. Affectionately

J M.

Draft (DLC).

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