Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1775 - TO WILLIAM BRADFORD, JR. - The Writings, vol. 1 (1769-1783)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
1775 - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
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.
ADDRESS “TO CAPTAIN PATRICK HENRY AND THE GENTLEMEN INDEPENDENTS OF HANOVER.1
May 9, 1775.
We, the committee for the county of Orange, having been fully informed of your seasonable and spirited proceedings in procuring a compensation for the powder fraudulently taken from the country magazine by command of Lord Dunmore, and which it evidently appears his lordship, notwithstanding his assurances, had no intention to restore, entreat you to accept their cordial thanks for this testimony of your zeal for the honor and interest of your country, We take this opportunity also to give it as our opinion that the blow struck in the Massachusetts government is a hostile attack on this and ever other Colony, and a sufficient warrant to use violence and reprisal in all cases in which it may be for our security and welfare.
“James Madison, Chairman.
[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.”
[1 ]From Rives’s Life of Madison. Madison was without doubt, Rives says, the author of the address.—Rives, i., 94, 95.