James Madison Papers

Alexander Scott to James Madison, 22 August 1826

George Town DC Aug 22d 1826

Dear Sir

In my claim, in support of which I enclosed you Mr Monroe’s letter and other documents, I unfortunately failed, ’tho it was sustained by strong additional testimony. Mr Clay’s decision was not founded on the merits of the case, but he refused to allow it because it was a settled account, ’tho I cited to him many precedents to the contrary—In my controversy with John Law altho I obtained a verdict for five thousand dollars, I incurred a considerable loss in fees costs and expences, as unluckily for me he died insolvent, that is to say with his property so incumbered as not to be tangible. At this time assure you I am in real distress, ’tho it is mortifying to acknowlege it, and not less wounding to my feelings to ask favors of my friends. The change from our former affluence to adversity, arising from those vicissitudes and accidents to which men are subject, is most severely felt by a family accustomed heretofore to the comforts of life.

In my case the change was produced in some degree by securityship, but principally by the imperceptible waste of that precarious kind of property land and negroes, of which my estate in Virginia and Maryland consisted, which without economy and good management will inevitably diminish.

Under therefore a peculiar emergency, I reluctantly take the unauthorized liberty of asking you for the loan of fifty dollars, or less if that sum is not convenient, to be repaid on the return of the President. My son has a claim of about two thousand dollars as Inspector of the customs at Pensacola, which was referred to Mr T Swann who has made a report, but Mr Rush declines acting on it until it has the President’s sanction. The money shall then be thankfully returned. With great respect and esteem I am Dear Sir Yr obedt Servt

Alexander Scott

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

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