The James Madison Cutts Letter

Recently a letter from J.M. Cutts, husband of Elen O'Neale, (Rose's sister) was posted on E-Bay. I bid on the letter, but unfortunately did not win the auction. Below are some details from the letter as was posted on the site...


 This stampless letter has a circular date stamp for WASHINGTON D.C. MAY 17, a handwritten 10 cent rate, and is addressed to John Hamilton, Port Tobacco, Charles county, Maryland, and is a three page letter written by J.M. Cutts. The headline is Washington May 16: 1837.

The writer of this letter was James Madison Cutts, nephew of Dolley Madison, wife of USA President James Madison of Virginia. I’m sure genealogists know the details, and there’s some internet sites with information, but here’s the basics: Dorothea “Dolly” Payne was the daughter of John Payne and Mary Coles. Dolly was born in 1768 in North Carolina, and her sister Anna Payne married Richard Cutts, whose son James Madison Cutts, the writer of this letter, married Eleanora Elizabeth O'Neale. As an interesting footnote, J.M. Cutts son, J.M. Jr., born about a year after this letter was written, was a Medal of Honor soldier.

Some abstracts:

    "The news of some great & disasterous battle in time of war & scarcity could hardly produce a greater degree of excitement than now pervades our community.”

    ”All the results, most to be deprecated, have occurred. An universal suspension of specie payments has taken place. An immense depreciation of paper money & a correspondent rise in the prices of goods, & the necessaries of life, men thrown out of employment, confidence in the Gov’t & between individuals destroyed, our National credit destroyed abroad & consequences we fear but cannot fully foresee.”

    ”You will see by the Globe of today that the President, by proclamation, calls Congress together on the first Monday of September.”

    ”The Banks of Metropolis & Washington have stopped, thus all of our District. I did hear, however, that the Farmers & Mechanics Bank were paying at 10 O.’C., but it is supposed they will cease before noon., & it is believed have now.”

    ”I am told by a gentleman who was yesterday evening shopping on the avenue that …”

    ”I have bid farewell to silver & as to gold in after years I may, perhaps, remember that I once have seen it.”

    ”It is a joke here that Uncle Sam is about to take the benefit of the insolvent laws!!!” …”

    ”We have a rumor circulating at this hour that C C Cambreling has been driven out of the City of N.Y., for having written to a member of the Legislature in Albany, that they now have the Banks on the hip & advising them to keep them there.”

    ”No coin to be had here, men know not how to manage for their marketing, as nothing will be changed.”

    ”Ellen sends you both more love than can go in this small space.”

    ”P.S. There is a report of a Nashville papers being in town, wherein the Hermitage is advertised for sale by the sheriff, being for endorsements, this, no doubt, untrue.”

Condition of the letter rates average, good postal markings, clear writing; the second side of the folded lettersheet has a tear at and opposite the sealing wax area (lose of a part of two words, but they can be guessed), some tears near the seal were mended with archival tape, also a piece of tape on a small tear on the first page. As usual with stampless letters, after writing on one or more sides of a sheet of paper, the letter was folded several times and mailed.