James Madison Papers

James Barbour to James Madison, 29 September 1828

London Sepr. 29h. 28

Dear Sir

It was a subject of very sincere regret, both, with me and my family, that from untoward circumstances we were deprived of the happiness of tendering to you and Mrs Madison, an affectionate farewell on the distant Journey we were about commencing—It will give you pleasure I am sure to learn that our voyage across the Atlantic, was so favorable as to exceed any one of the 145 passages, which our Captn had made—I indeed had to pay the Tax of Young Navigators, being sick from land to land—The sight of the latter was the epoch of returning health which has been uninterrupted since—and fortunately it has been enjoyed by the whole Family—No language can give a faint idea of the beauty of England—The Country from Liverpool to London presents a perfect Landscape—beyond the pencil to imitate. Not a spot, but which has been redeemed and appropriated to use, or to beauty—And while the Country is distributed in fields from one, to twenty acres, separated by hedges or stone walls—the residences of their nobles—for beauty and ostentation to any but, to the beholder are incredible—We enjoyed the high gratification of a minute inspection of their Parks, their Water Works, their Gardens, their Houses, their interior arrangement, furniture, paintings and a long et cetera—on which is lavished the enormous income, of three thousand dollars a day. We travelled with a view to inspect their most important Manufacturing establishments—We were told every where that they were prosperous—the operatives looked infinitely better than I expected to find them—their clothing neat, their diet plentiful and comfortable—the children healthy and numerous—The women, in the lower orders, are generally beautiful—London is now said to contain 1.400000—inhabitants—The extremes of human Society are seen every day and indeed every minute in the Streets—the mass of human wretchedness and profligacy aggregated here is appalling to humanity, inseparable I presume however from such a multitude—I propose occasionally to do myself the pleasure of writing you of what I see and of what is doing here—as a feeble testimony of my friendly regard to you and under a hope that it may not be unacceptable—The principal object of writing to you to day, just too as the mail is about leaving was to inform you that notwithstanding the papers are boasting it the influence of the last few weeks of fine weather (said to be unsurpassed in this Country) on their harvest, and that the crop is an average one that I was informed yesterday that 98 p had been refused for the quarter of wheat (Dantzic) equal to $2.20 for one bushel—I hope you will not have sold before this reaches you—as I think wheat must be high. And I will be obliged to you to say so to any of our Friends—We offer to You and Mrs Madison assurances of a very warm friendship

James Barbour

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

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