Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1772 - TO WILLIAM BRADFORD, JR. 1 ( At the Coffee-House, Philadelphia.—By the Post. ) - The Writings, vol. 1 (1769-1783)
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1772 - TO WILLIAM BRADFORD, JR. 1 ( At the Coffee-House, Philadelphia.—By the Post. ) - James Madison, The Writings, vol. 1 (1769-1783) 
The Writings of James Madison, comprising his Public Papers and his Private Correspondence, including his numerous letters and documents now for the first time printed, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900). Vol. 1.
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TO WILLIAM BRADFORD, JR.1
Orange, Virginia, November 9, 1772.
My dear B.,—
You moralize so prettily, that if I were to judge from some parts of your letter of October 13, I should take you for an old philosopher that had experienced the emptiness of earthly happiness; and I am very glad that you have so early seen through the romantic paintings with which the world is sometimes set off by the sprightly imaginations of the ingenious. You have happily supplied, by reading and observation, the want of experiment; and therefore I hope you are sufficiently guarded against the allurements and vanities that beset us on our first entrance on the theatre of life. Yet, however nice and cautious we may be in detecting the follies of mankind, and framing our economy according to the precepts of Wisdom and Religion, I fancy there will commonly remain with us some latent expectation of obtaining more than ordinary happiness and prosperity till we feel the convincing argument of actual disappointment. Though I will not determine whether we shall be much the worse for it if we do not allow it to intercept our views towards a future state, because strong desires and great hopes instigate us to arduous enterprizes, fortitude, and perseverance. Nevertheless, a watchful eye must be kept on ourselves, lest while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the annals of Heaven. These thoughts come into my mind because I am writing to you, and thinking of you. As to myself, I am too dull and infirm now to look out for any extraordinary things in this world, for I think my sensations for many months past have intimated to me not to expect a long or healthy life; though it may be better with me after some time, [but] I hardly dare expect it, and therefore have little spirit and alacrity to set about anything that is difficult in acquiring and useless in possessing after one has exchanged time for eternity. But you have health, youth, fire, and genius, to bear you along through the high track of public life, and so may be more interested and delighted in improving on hints that respect the temporal though momentous concerns of man.
I think you made a judicious choice of History and the science of morals for your winter’s study. They seem to be of the most universal benefit to men of sense and taste in every post, and must certainly be of great use to youth in settling the principles and refining the judgment, as well as in enlarging knowledge and correcting the imagination. I doubt not but you design to season them with a little divinity now and then, which, like the philosopher’s stone, in the hands of a good man, will turn them and every lawful acquirement into the nature of itself, and make them more precious than fine gold.
As you seem to require that I should be open and unreserved, (which is indeed the only proof of true friendship,) I will venture to give you a word of advice, though it be more to convince you of my affection for you than from any apprehension of your needing it. Pray do not suffer those impertinent fops that abound in every city to divert you from your business and philosophical amusements. You may please them more by admitting them to the enjoyment of your company, but you will make them respect and admire you more by showing your indignation at their follies, and by keeping them at a becoming distance. I am luckily out of the way of such troubles, but I know you are surrounded with them; for they breed in towns and populous places as naturally as flies do in the shambles, because there they get food enough for their vanity and impertinence.
I have undertaken to instruct my brothers and sisters in some of the first rudiments of literature; but it does not take up so much of my time but I shall always have leisure to receive and answer your letters, which are very grateful to me, I assure you; and for reading any performances you may be kind enough to send me, whether of Mr. Freneau1 or anybody else. I think myself happy in your correspondence, and desire you will continue to write as often as you can, as you see I intend to do by the early and long answer I send you. You are the only valuable friend I have settled in so public a place, and I must rely on you for an account of all literary transactions in your part of the world.
I am not sorry to hear of Livingston’s2 getting a degree. I heartily wish him well, though many would think I had but little reason to do so; and if he would be sensible of his opportunities and encouragements, I think he might still recover. Lucky (?) and his company, after their feeble yet wicked assault upon Mr. Erwin, in my opinion, will disgrace the catalogue of names; but they are below contempt, and I spend no more words about them.
And now, my friend, I must take my leave of you, but with such hopes that it will not be long before I receive another epistle from you, as make me more cheerfully conclude and subscribe myself
Your sincere and affectionate friend.
Your direction was right; however, the addition of “Jr.” to my name would not be improper.
1772. ACT FOR OPENING & KEEPING IN REPAIR PUBLIC ROADS.1mad. mss.
Freeholders of each Township to chuse annually two supervisors of the High ways.
The supervisors to lay a rate (appeal to lie to Quarter Sessions for party grieved) not exceeding 9d in the pound on real & personal estate & to last county assessmt to be employed in opening, clearing, mending & repairing the several high ways within their respective Townships.
Where roads divide 2 townships, to be repaired at joint expense, and supervisors.
Vacancy in supervisorship by death refusal to act or removal to be supplied by 3 or more Justices of peace.
Supervisors to receive 12d. in the pound for collecting, & 4 shillgs per day during the overseeing employg & directing the workmen on the public roads.
Tenants of non resident Landlords liable for rates to be deducted from their rents, saving contracts.
Supervisors reqd as often as roads out of repair or new roads to be opened, to have sufficient no of labourers to work upon, open, amend, clear & repair the same in the most effectual manner, & to purchase wood, & other materials necessary. Supervisors & persons havg his order, empowered to enter on adjoining lands, to cut ditches & drains as he shall find necessary, doing as little damage as possible, which drains shall not be stopped by owner under penalty of 5 pds. for each offence—also to dig gravel sand or stones, or take loose stones on sd land or cut trees necessary, doing as little damage as possible, & the sd materials to remove without let, paying or tendency to owner the agreed value, or in case cannot agree, value to be set by two indifferent freeholders.
Penalty of 3/. on persons working on high way, asking demandg or extorting money NA or other thing from travellers, to be recovered by supervisor before the Justice of peace & applied to use of roads, & in case of Supervisors conivance, he to forfeit 20/. to NA by any person whatever ½ to prosecutor, ½ to use of roads.
Supervisors neglecting or refusing to perform duty, to be fined £3 for every offence, to be recovered in same way before Justice of peace & applied to use of roads allowing appeal to Supervisor to Court of Quarter Sessions which on petition of party grieved shall take final order therein as shall appear Just & reasonable. Electors at time of chusing supervisors to chuse four freeholders yearly, to settle acct of supervisors whose office shall then be about to expire: & the person or persons who shall have served the office of supervisor for preceding year, shall on 25th March yearly or 6 days after make up & produce fair accts. of all sums expended, & come to his hands: wch accts shall be entered in a book to be kept for that purpose, & shall be attested on oath or affirmation before Justice of peace if reqd. by sd. freeholder or 3 of them—sd freeholders or 3 of them to allow such charges & sums only as they shall deem reasonable; money remaining in hands of precedg. supervisors to be paid by order of sd freeholders to succeeding supervisors: in case of the reverse, succeeding supervisors to reimburse by like order, out of the first money coming to their hands—supervisors failg to produce acct. or to pay surplusage or deliver book of acct. to successor or in his hands may on complaint by sd freeholders to any Justice of peace, be by him committed to county goal, till he comply.
Person sued for executing this act. may plead genl issue, & give it & special matter in evidence; & if dft or prosecutor be nonsuit, or suffer a discontinuance or if a verdt pass agst him, dfts shall have treble costs to be recovered as in other cases of costs given to dfts. & no such suit or prosecution NA tained unless com̃enced within six months after cause given, or unless security be first NA for the charges.
[1 ]From Madison’s works. This and the following Bradford letters are not iound in the Madison MSS. Bradford was successively Major in the Pennsylvania militia, in command of a company in Col. Hampton’s regiment of regular troops, and Deputy Muster Master-General, with rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, during the Revolution; Attorney-General of Pennsylvania in 1780, Judge of the Supreme Court of the State in 1791, and Attorney-General of the United States in 1794.
[1 ]Nov. 22, 1772, Philip Freneau wrote to Madison from Somerset Co., Md., where he was, as he expressed it, teaching school, sleeping, and writing poetry: “I should have been glad to have heard from you before now; while I was at College I had but a short participation of your agreeable friendship, and the few persons I converse with and yet fewer, whose conversation I delight in, makes me regret the Loss of it.”—Mad. MSS. It was chiefly through Madison’s agency that Freneau was subsequently appointed translating clerk of the State Department, a position which he held while he was editing the National Gazette and leading the abuse of Washington. See Ædanus Burke’s letter to Madison concerning him in The American Historical Review for January, 1898, p. 279.
[2 ]Brokholst Livingston, afterwards Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States.
[1 ]This act repeals an act requiring the personal labor of the inhabitants for repairing roads. [Note in MS.]