Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO WILLIAM BRADFORD, JR. - The Writings, vol. 1 (1769-1783)
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TO WILLIAM BRADFORD, JR. - 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.
July 1, 1774.
I am once more got into my native land, and into the possession of my customary employments, solitude and contemplation; though I must confess not a little disturbed by the sound of war, blood and plunder, on the one hand, and the threats of slavery and oppression on the other. From the best accounts I can obtain from our frontiers, the savages are determined on the extirpation of the inhabitants, and no longer leave them the alternative of death or captivity. The consternation and timidity of the white people, who abandon their possessions without making the least resistance, are as difficult to be accounted for as they are encouraging to the enemy. Whether it be owing to the unusual cruelty of the Indians, the want of necessary implements or ammunition for war, or to the ignorance and inexperience of many who, since the establishment of peace, have ventured into those new settlements, I can neither learn, nor with any certainty conjecture. However, it is confidently asserted that there is not an inhabitant for some hundreds of miles back which have been settled for many years except those who are [forted?] in or embodied by their military commanders. The state of things has induced Lord Dunmore, contrary to his intentions at the dissolution of the Assembly, to issue writs for a new election of members, whom he is to call together on the 11th of August.
As to the sentiments of the people of this Colony with respect to the Bostonians, I can assure you I find them very warm in their favor. The natives are very numerous and resolute, are making resolves in almost every county, and I believe are willing to fall in with the other Colonies in any expedient measure, even if that should be the universal prohibition of trade. It must not be denied, though, that the Europeans, especially the Scotch, and some interested merchants among the natives, discountenance such proceedings as far as they dare; alledging the injustice and perfidy of refusing to pay our debts to our generous creditors at home. This consideration induces some honest, moderate folks to prefer a partial prohibition, extending only to the importation of goods.
We have a report here that Governor Gage has sent Lord Dunmore some letters relating to public matters in which he says he has strong hopes that he shall be able to bring things at Boston to an amicable settlement. I suppose you know whether there be any truth in the report, or any just foundation for such an opinion in Gage.
It has been said here by some, that the appointed fast was disregarded by every Scotch clergyman, though it was observed by most of the others who had timely notice of it. I cannot avouch it for an absolute certainty, but it appears no ways incredible.
I was so lucky as to find Dean Tucker’s tracts1 on my return home, sent by mistake with some other books imported this spring. I have read them with peculiar satisfaction and illumination with respect to the interests of America and Britain. At the same time his ingenious and plausible defence of parliamentary authority carries in it such defects and misrepresentations, as confirm me in political orthodoxy—after the same manner as the specious arguments of Infidels have established the faith of inquiring Christians.
I am impatient to hear from you; and do now certainly [earnestly?] renew the stipulation for that friendly correspondence which alone can comfort me in the privation of your company. I shall be punctual in transmitting you an account of everything that can be acceptable, but must freely absolve you from as strict an obligation, which your application to more important business will not allow, and which my regard for your ease and interests will not suffer me to enjoin. I am, dear sir, your faithful friend.
TO WILLIAM BRADFORD, JR.
Virginia, Orange County, January 20, 1775.1
My worthy Friend,— * * *
We are very busy at present in raising men and procuring the necessaries for defending ourselves and our friends in case of a sudden invasion. The extensiveness of the demands of the Congress, and the pride of the British nation, together with the wickedness of the present ministry, seem, in the judgment of our politicians, to require a preparation for extreme events. There will, by the Spring I expect, be some thousands of well-trained, high-spirited men ready to meet danger whenever it appears, who are influenced by no mercenary principles, but bearing their own expenses, and having the prospect of no recompense but the honor and safety of their country.
I suppose the inhabitants of your Province are more reserved in their behavior, if not more easy in their apprehension, from the prevalence of Quaker principles and politics. The Quakers are the only people with us who refuse to accede to the Continental association. I cannot forbear suspecting them to be under the control and direction of the leaders of the party in your quarter; for I take those of them that we have to be too honest and simple to have any sinister or secret views, and I do not observe anything in the association inconsistent with their religious principles. When I say they refuse to accede to the association, my meaning is that they refuse to sign it; that being the method used among us to distinguish friends from foes, and to oblige the common people to a more strict observance of it. I have never heard whether the like method has been adopted in the other Governments.
I have not seen the following in print, and it seems to be so just a specimen of Indian eloquence and mistaken valor, that I think you will be pleased with it. You must make allowance for the unskilfulness of the interpreters.
The speech of Logan, a Shawanese Chief, to Lord Dunmore:
“I appeal to any white man to say, if ever he entered Logan’s cabin hungry, and I gave him not meat; if ever he came cold or naked, and I gave him not clothing. During the course of the last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his tent, an advocate for peace; nay, such was my love for the whites, that those of my country pointed at me as they passed by, and said ‘Logan is the friend of white men.’ I had even thought to live with you but for the injuries of one man. Col. Cressop, the last spring, in cold blood and unprovoked, cut off all the relations of Logan, not sparing even my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any human creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it; I have killed many; I have fully glutted my vengence. For my country I rejoice at the beams of peace; but do not harbor a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan?—not one!”
If you should see any of our friends from Princeton a little before the time of your intending to write to me, and could transmit any little intelligence concerning the health, &c., of my little brother there, it would be very acceptable to me, and very gratifying to a fond mother; but I desire it may only be done when it will cost you less than five words.
We had with us a little before Christmas the Rev. Moses Allen, on his return from Boston to Charlestown. He told me he came through Philadelphia, but did not see you, though he expresses a singular regard for you, and left his request with me that you would let him hear from you whenever it is convenient, promising to return the kindness with punctuality. He travelled with considerable equipage for a dissenting ecclesiastic, and seems to be willing to superadd the airs of the fine gentleman to the graces of the spirit. I had his company for several days, during which time he preached two sermons with general approbation. His discourses were above the common run some degree; and his appearance in the pulpit on on the whole was no discredit to [. . . . . . ?] He retains too much of his pristine levity, but promises amendment. I wish he may for the sake of himself, his friends, and his flock. I only add that he seems to be one of those geniuses that are formed for shifting in the world rather than shining in a college, and that I really believe him to possess a friendly and generous disposition.
You shall ere long hear from me again. Till then, Vive, vale et Lœtare.
[1 ]On the dispute between England and America, recommending as a practical solution, a voluntary separation. Rives, i., 35.
[1 ]The first portion of this letter is devoted to a discussion of his friend Brackenridge’s poem, of which he disapproves. “In short, the theme is not interesting enough, nor the dress sufficiently à la mode to attract the notice of the generality.”