of the United States
, from March 4, 1809, to March 4, 1817; Republican; born in Port Conway, Va.
, March 16, 1751; graduated at the College of New Jersey in 1771, studied law, and in 1776 was elected to a seat in the Virginia Assembly.
He became a member of the executive council in 1778, and was sent to Congress in 1779.
In that body he continually opposed the issue of paper money by the States.
He was active until the peace in 1783, when he retired to private life, but was drawn out
again as a delegate to the convention that framed the national Constitution.
In that body he took a prominent part in the debates, and wrote some of the papers in The Federalist
, which advocated the adoption of that instrument.
He was also in the Virginia Convention in 1788 that ratified the Constitution
A member of Congress from 1789 to 1797, Madison
did much in the establishment of the nation on a firm foundation.
Uniting with the Republican party, he was a moderate opponent of the administration of Washington
He declined the post of Secretary of State
, vacated by Jefferson
in 1793, which Washington
offered him. He presented resolutions to the Virginia legislature in 1798, drawn by him, on the basis of a series drawn by Jefferson
for the Kentucky
legislature, which contained the essence of the doctrine of State supremacy.
They were adopted.
In 1801 he was appointed Secretary of State
, which office he held until his inauguration as President
He very soon became involved in disputes about impressment with the government of Great Britain
, and, in 1812, was compelled to declare war against that nation (see below). He was enabled to proclaim a treaty of peace in February, 1815.
Retiring from office in 1817, he passed the remainder of his days on his estate at Montpelier
His accomplished wife, Dorothy
(commonly called “Dolly
” ), shared his joys and sorrows from the time of their marriage in Philadelphia
in 1794 until his death, June 28, 1836, and survived him until July 2, 1849.
She was a long time among the leaders in Washington society.
, seeing that the capital was in danger when victory remained with the British
sent messengers to his wife, advising her to fly to a place of safety.
She had already been apprised of the disaster on the field.
On receiving the message from her husband, Aug. 24, 1814, between 2 and 3 P. M., she ordered her carriage and sent away in a wagon silver plate and other valuables, to be deposited in the Bank of Maryland.
In one of the rooms hung a full-length portrait of Washington
, painted by Stuart
While anxiously waiting for the arrival of her husband, she took measures for preserving the picture, when, finding the process of unscrewing the frame from the wall too tedious, she had it broken in pieces, and the canvas was removed from the stretcher with her own hands.
Just as she had accomplished so much, two gentlemen from New York (Jacob Barker
and R. G. L. De Peyster
) entered the room.
The picture was lying on the floor.
The sound of approaching troops was heard.
“Save that picture,” said Mrs. Madison
to the two gentlemen.
“Save it if possible; if not possible, destroy it; under no circumstances allow it
to fall into the hands of the British
Then, snatching up the precious parchment which bore the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence
and the autographs of the signers, which she had also resolved to save, she hastened to the carriage, with her sister and her husband, and was borne away to a place of safety beyond the Potomac
and De Peyster
rolled up the picture, and, with it, accompanied a portion of the retreating army, and so saved it. That picture was left at a farm-house, and a few weeks afterwards Mr. Barker
restored it to Mrs. Madison
It now hangs in the Blue Room
of the White House
The revered parchment is still preserved by the government.
Message on British aggressions.
On June 1, 1812, President Madison
sent to Congress the following message detailing the existing relations between the United States
and Great Britain
Message on peace treaty.