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consideration. Mr. Madison was elected a member of the convention of Virginia, chosen for that purpose, and here his best efforts were again called into requisition, to secure the sanction of his native state to a measure which he deemed of the most vital importance to the interests of the whole Union. In this state convention of Virginia were assembled some of the most able and talented of her sons, including many of the patriots of the revolution, and others renowned for wisdom and eloquence; but. with widely discordant views on the subject of a form of national government. Among those who acted with Mr. Madison in advocating the adoption of the constitution, were John Marshall, Edmund Pendleton, George Wythe, and Edmund Randolph; while Patrick Henry, James Monroe, William Grayson, and George Mason, were among the opponents. The question was finally carried in favor of adoption by 89 votes to 79.
Notwithstanding the triumph of the federalists, as the friends of the constitution were then called, in the convention of Virginia, the anti-federalists held the majority in the legislature. An attempt to elect Mr. Madison to the senate of the United States was, therefore, unsuccessful, Messrs. Grayson and R. H. Lee being preferred. Mr. Madison was, however, elected by the people of one of the congressional districts, a member of the house of representatives, and took his seat in the new Congress, at New York, in April, 1789. In that body he bore an active and leading part in the adoption of measures for the organization of the government. He continued a distinguished member of Congress during the eight years of General Washington's administration, which terminated in March, 1797. He opposed the funding system, the national bank, and other measures of the administration which originated with Hamilton, secretary of the treasury; acting generally with the anti-federalists, who sustained the views of Mr. Jefferson, then secretary of state; notwithstanding Madison had been one of the most distinguished champions of the constitution previous to its adoption, and was associated with Hamilton and Jay in the production of the celebrated essays called "The Federalist," which had an important influence with the people, in favor of the constitution.
In 1794, being then in his forty-third year, Mr. Madison married Mrs Dolly Paine Todd, of Philadelphia, the widow of a lawyer of Pennsylvania, who died in less than three years after her first marriage. This lady's maiden name was Paine; and her father, who belonged to the society of Friends, had removed from Virginia to Philadelphia. She was about twenty years younger than Mr. Madison, and still survives. She was always admired for her agreeable manners, her fine person, and talents in conversation. With an amiable disposition, a mild and dignified deportment, few American ladies have been more distinguished than Mrs. Madison, in the various and high stations she has been called to occupy and adorn through life.
In January, 1794, Mr. Madison introduced into the house of representatives a series of resolutions on the subject of the commerce of the United States with foreign nations. They were based on a previous report made to Congress by Mr. Jefferson, secretary of state, on the subject of foreign relations, and were probably prepared with the concurrence of Mr. Jefferson, as a manuscript copy was found among his papers. They were retaliatory in their character toward Great Britain, and considered favorable to the interests of France. They gave rise to a warm debate, parties being nearly balanced in the house, but the subject was finally postponed, without definite action.
Mr. Madison continued to act with the democratic, or republican party, for the remainder of his political career, co-operating with Mr. Jefferson in his views of national policy, and between these two gentlemen there existed through their lives the warmest personal friendship. In 1797, Mr. Madison retired from Congress, and in order to oppose the administration of Mr. Adams in a new form, he accepted a seat in the Virginia legislature, in 1798, where he made a report on the subject of the alien and sedition laws which had been passed by the federal party in Con gress, concluding with a series of resolutions against those laws; which resolutions have since formed a text for the doctrine of state-rights, as held by the democratic party of Virginia and some other states.
On the accession of Mr. Jefferson to the presidency, in 1801, he appointed Mr. Madison secretary of state, which office he held during the eight years of Mr. Jefferson's administration; and in 1809, having received the nomination and support of the democratic party, he succeeded his friend and coadjutor, as president of the United States. During his administration, in 1812, war was declared by Congress against Great Britain, to which measure he reluctantly consented, and the same year he was re-elected to the presidency. In his selection of commissioners to negotiate a treaty of peace, Mr. Madison showed his anxiety for a termination of the war, by the appointment of able men, sincerely desirous of peace, which was concluded at Ghent, in December, 1814.
The anxious and exciting scenes of war were not congenial to a person of the peaceful disposition of Mr. Madison, yet the duties of his high office were performed with firmness and ability. Among the events of the war which were calculated to disturb his equanimity, was the capture of the city of Washington, and the destruction of the public buildings, by the British, in 1814. The president and some other principal officers of the government narrowly escaped from being made prisoners by the British troops; they, however, were saved by a rapid flight.
After the return of peace, the remainder of Mr. Madison's administration was prosperous and tranquil. The interests of agriculture and commerce revived among the people, and the national revenue was rapidly replenished from the fruits of returning prosperity. The manufacturing
interests, however, languished for want of adequate protection. The president was favorable to their encouragement. He changed his views on the subject of a national bank, and signed the bill for incorporating the bank of the United States, in 1816. He had, in 1791, opposed the bank then incorporated, as unconstitutional, and in 1815 he had returned to Congress a bill incorporating a bank, as he disapproved of some of its provisions; but in the following year he waived his objections, and approved of an act of incorporation, somewhat modified.
On the 3d of March, 1817, Mr. Madison's administration was brought to a close, and he retired from public life, being then sixty-six years of age, to his seat at Montpelier, in Orange county, Virginia, where he passed the remainder of his days. In 1829 he was chosen a member of the state convention to revise the constitution of Virginia, and for several years he acted as visiter and rector of the University of Virginia. He was also chosen president of an agricultural society in the county where he resided, and before this society he delivered an address, admirable for its classical beauty and practical knowledge.
Having arrived at a good old age, and numbered eighty-five years, the mortal career of Mr. Madison was closed on the 28th of June, 1836. Congress and other public bodies adopted testimonials of respect for his memory. He left no children.
In his personal appearance, Mr. Madison was of small stature, and rather protuberant in front. He had a calm expression, penetrating blue eyes, and was slow and grave in his speech. At the close of his presidency he seemed to be care-worn, with an appearance of more advanced age than was the fact. He was bald on the top of his head, wore his hair powdered, and generally dressed in black. His manner was modest and retiring, but in conversation he was pleasing and instructive, having a mind well stored with the treasures of learning, and being particularly familiar with the political world. On his accession to the presidency he restored the custom of levees at the presidential mansion, which had been abolished by Mr. Jefferson. It was on the occasion of these levees, that his accomplished lady, by her polite and attractive attentions and manners, shone with peculiar lustre. Mr. Madison was fond of society, although he had travelled but little; never having visited foreign. countries, or seen much of the people and country over which he presided. When a member of deliberative bodies, Mr. Madison was an able debater, having acquired self-confidence by slow degrees. As a writer, he has few equals among American statesmen, and the style of his public documents and his correspondence has always been much admired. He was at the time of his death, the last surviving signer of the constitution, and the part he bore in framing that instrument, his subsequent advocacy of it, by his writings, with his adherence to its provisions, obtained for him the title of "Father of the Constitution."
ADMINISTRATION OF MADISON.
On the fourth of March, 1809, James Madison was inaugurated as president of the United States. The oath of office was administered to him by Chief-Justice Marshall, in the capitol, at Washington in the presence of the ex-president, Mr. Jefferson, who sat at his right hand, the members of the late cabinet, many members of Congress, foreign ministers, and a large concourse of citizens. He was dressed in a plain suit of black, and delivered his inaugural address in a manner at once modest and dignified. The tone and sentiment of the address elicited general approbation, and hopes were entertained by the nation, that the gloomy aspect of affairs might be changed by the measures of the new administration with regard to our foreign relations. These anticipations of the people were doomed to disappointment.
Mr. Madison selected for his cabinet, Robert Smith, of Maryland, as secretary of state, William Eustis, of Massachusetts, secretary of war, Paul Hamilton, of South Carolina, secretary of the navy; Mr. Gallatin was continued as secretary of the treasury, as was Cesar A. Rodney, of Delaware, attorney-general.
The eleventh Congress met on the 22d of May, 1809, agreeably to a law passed by the previous Congress, in consequence of the critical state of the nation, and the apprehension of a war with Great Britain or France. The democratic ascendency in the house of representatives having been sustained at the recent elections, Joseph B. Varnum was re-elected speaker.
At this session, the non-intercourse act with Great Britain and France, which had been substituted for the embargo, by the last Congress, was continued, with some modifications. No very material alterations were made in the law, nor was any other very important measure adopted at this extra session, which lasted only about five weeks, and was terminated on the 28th of June.
Mr. Erskine, the British minister at Washington, considering the nonintercourse law as placing Great Britain and France on an equality, made a communication to the government of the United States, in April, informing it that he was authorized, by despatches received from his govern
ment, to make reparation for the Chesapeake affair; also that an envoy extraordinary would soon be sent to the United States to conclude a treaty on all questions between the two countries, and that the orders in council would be repealed as to the United States, on the president's renewing the intercourse between America and Great Britain. The president issued a proclamation to that effect, on the 19th of April, stating the withdrawal of the British orders on the 10th of June, when the commerce between the two countries would be renewed. But the British government refused to sanction the overture and arrangement made by their minister, who, they declared, had exceeded the authority of his instructions; and he admitted that he had done so, in a letter to his government, in which he says, that "nothing would have induced me to deviato, in any degree, from the orders I had received, but a thorough conviction that by so doing I should accomplish the object which his majesty had in view; when by too strictly adhering to the letter of my instructions, I might lose the opportunity of promoting essentially his majesty's interests and wishes."
The president thereupon issued a second proclamation, reciting the facts, and declaring the act of non-intercourse to be revived and in full effect. Mr. Erskine was soon after recalled, and another envoy appointed in his stead. This transaction caused great irritation in the public mind and hostility toward England, among the American people, and a declaration of war at this time with England, would probably have been popular.
Mr. Jackson, the British envoy who succeeded Mr. Erskine, arrived at Washington at the close of the year 1809. He was directed to state the reasons for a refusal by the British government to confirm the arrangement made Mr. Erskine, and was authorized to enter into negotiations for a commercial treaty. But far from displaying the mild and conciliatory spirit of his predecessor, he attempted to vindicate the honor of his own government by dealing in censures and criminations upon the government of the United States, in a style unusual in diplomatic correspondence. He insinuated that the president and secretary of state must have known that Mr. Erskine had deviated from his instructions, and transcended his powers; and after the secretary of state denied the charge, he repeated the insinuation, which was deemed highly improper and insulting to our government. The correspondence between Mr. Jackson and the secretary of state was continued in the same angry tone for several weeks, each party considering himself harshly treated, and the president finally directed the secretary of state to receive no further communication from the British envoy Mr. Jackson therefore left Washington, immediately on receiving notice to that effect, and took up his residence in New York. At the request of the president, communicated through the American minister in London Mr. Jackson was recalled, but without being censured, or the offer of any