James Madison Papers

James Madison to Haym M. Salomon, 20 January 1827

Montpr. Jany. 20. 1827

Dr Sir

I have recd. thro’ Mr. Wheaton your letter of the 9th. inst: requesting any information I might be able to give relating to your father & his affairs particularly with the persons you have named. I am sorry it is so much out of my power to fulfil your wishes.

My first residence in Phila was in the year 1780, when I became a member of the Revoly. Congress, of which I ceased to be a member in 1783. I recollect that your father was during that period doing business there in his line. Among other members of Congs. from Virginia whose resources public & private had been cut off, I had occasion once perhaps twice myself to resort to his pecuniary aid on a small scale for current wants. We regarded him as upright, intelligent, and friendly in his transactions with us. It was understood, after Mr. Morris was charged with the public finances that your father’s agency was employed by him, but to what extent, and for what precise objects, I can not undertake to say. The Archives of the Treasury Dept. may perhaps shew. It is quite probable that his character & occupation drew to him some pecuniary intercourse on public or private account with the persons you name. But it is not probable that it came within my knowledge. I have certainly no recollections implying it. Of Monsr. R. the first on your list, I know nothing, his name itself being new to me. The others being in public character, were of course known to me as such, but no wise in any transactions such as they may have had with your father. I do not recollect to have even before heard of the enterprise prior to his coming to Phila. which exposed him to the vengeance of the British Commander at N. Y. as the date of it preceded my arrival at Philada; its reality is however very consistent with my ignorance of it.

I am aware that these circumstances are very barren for your object: They are given nevertheless from the respect which I tender you with the addition of my good wishes.

J. M.

Draft (DLC).

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