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Madison (James) correspondence with Alexander James Dallas
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Processing Information
  • Arrangement
  • Publication Note

  • Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
    Title: James Madison correspondence with Alexander James Dallas
    Creator: Madison, James, 1751-1836
    Creator: Dallas, Alexander James, 1759-1817
    Identifier/Call Number: mssMD
    Physical Description: 4.68 Linear Feet (4 flat boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1815-1816
    Abstract: This collection primarily contains political correspondence between James Madison and Alexander James Dallas, 1815-1816.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. James Madison correspondence with Alexander James Dallas, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Purchased from A.S.W. Rosenbach, 1916.

    Biographical / Historical

    James Madison Jr. (March 5, 1751-June 28, 1836), the fourth president of the United States, was born in Port Conway, Virginia, the son of tobacco planter and enslaver James Madison Sr. and Nelly Conway Madison. Madison served as a member of the Executive Council of the State of Virginia from 1777 to 1779. He was a delegate to Congress from 1780 to 1783 and 1786 to 1787 and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1789 to 1797. Madison helped to organize the Constitutional Convention and was a framer of the United States Constitution, co-authoring the Federalist Papers in 1787 and 1788, and drafting the Bill of Rights in 1789. He served as secretary of state from 1801 to 1809 in the administration of President Thomas Jefferson.
    Madison was elected president in November 1808, serving two terms from 1809 to 1817. Major events of his administration included the War of 1812 with Great Britain and the creation of the Second Bank of the United States. Madison's tenure was marked by treaties and conflicts with Native Americans as the government promoted settlements in and colonized its frontiers.
    Madison married Dolley Todd in 1794. The couple did not have children, and Madison adopted her son by a previous marriage, John Payne Todd. At age 50, Madison inherited his family estate in Virginia, Montpelier; the family enslaved approximately 100 laborers on the property. Madison died at Montpelier at age 85.

    Biographical / Historical

    Alexander James Dallas (June 21, 1759-January 16, 1817) was born on Jamaica and raised in Edinburgh and London. He emigrated to the United States in June 1783, settling in Philadelphia, where he began practicing law in 1785. Dallas was a U.S. Supreme Court reporter and was Secretary of the Commonwealth from 1791 to 1801. In 1801, he was named U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a position he held until 1814. Under President James Madison, Dallas served as Secretary of the Treasury from October 1814 to October 1816, Acting Secretary of War from March to August 1815, and Acting Secretary of State in 1815. He died in Philadelphia at age 57.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection primarily contains political correspondence between James Madison and Alexander James Dallas, 1815-1816. Letters concern the organization of a peacetime military establishment; economic and financial affairs, including the Second Bank of the United States; U.S. relations with Great Britain, France, Russia, Algeria; and an astronomical observatory. Correspondence also pertains to relationships with Native Americans following the War of 1812, especially in Michigan territory (see letters from May 1815).
    Persons mentioned in correspondence include Jacob Jennings Brown, Andrew Jackson, Winfield Scott, Thomas Sidney Jessup, Joseph Bonaparte, William Jones, James Monroe, and Albert Gallatin.
    This collection also contains a small number of letters from Alexander James Dallas to other recipients, including Andrew Jackson.

    Processing Information

    This collection was reprocessed in 2020-2021 by Melissa Haley as part of the American Presidential Papers Project. The items had been assembled physically and arranged chronologically by Huntington Library former staff in early- or mid-20th century; material was rehoused during reprocessing. Previously assigned item-level call numbers have been retained. The number of pages for each item is noted in parentheses in item-level Scope and Contents notes.
    Previously assigned legacy terminology regarding autograph, endorsement, and franking status of items was retained. Items marked autograph indicate the item is in the handwriting of the author of the letter or document. Endorsement usually refers to a signature of the addressee or individual authorized to read and respond to a letter and indicates that they have done so. Franking indicates the presence of an authorized signature for mailing purposes.


    Items are arranged chronologically.

    Publication Note

    Most items are published in Founders Online, National Archives, except where noted. (https://founders.archives.gov/) 

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Indians of North America -- History -- 19th century
    United States -- Foreign relations -- 1783-1865
    United States -- History -- 1809-1817
    United States -- Politics and Government -- 1809-1817
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 19th century
    Dallas, Alexander James, 1759-1817 -- Correspondence
    Madison, James, 1751-1836 -- Correspondence