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State Convention of Virginia which met to adopt the Constitution, and on the establishment of the new Congress under the Constitution, he was chosen a member, retaining his seat until the close of Washington's administration.
In 1801, as one of the presidential electors, he had the gratification of voting for his illustrious friend Jefferson, who immediately offered him a place in his cabinet, which was accepted. Accordingly, he entered on the discharge of his duties as Secretary of State, which duties he continued to perform during the whole of Mr. Jefferson's ad. ministration, and on the retirement of that great statesman, in 1809, he succeeded to the Presidency, in which office he served two terms.
Mr. Madison then retired to his peaceful home in Virginia, where he passed the remainder of his days in favorite pastimes, loved by the many and respected by all, until the 28th of June, 1826, when the last survivor of the framers of our Constitution was gathered to his fathers, full of years and glory.
Election for the Sixth Term, commencing March 4, 1809, and
terminating March 3, 1813.
James Madison took the oath of office, as President, and en tered upon his duties March 4, 1809.
George Clinton, elected Vice President, took the oath of office, and attended in the Senate, March 4, 1809.
Our national position, especially in regard to England and France, was certainly a very perplexing one when Mr. Madison came to the Presidency. We were not only threatened by enemies abroad, but were harassed by a savage foe on our western frontier, probably urged on by British influence, and led by the famous chief Tecumseh and his brother the Prophet. These last were finally subdued in 1811; but our European foes were more troublesome. After all peaceful means had failed to check the aggressions of England, and when at length “patience had ceased to be a virtue," war was declared against that country, June 19, 1812. The events of that war it is not within our province to record; and it is sufficient to say, that they greatly elevated the American character in the estimation of both friends and enemies.
Election for the Seventh Term, commencing March 4, 1813, and
terminating March 3, 1817.
James Madison, elected President for a second term. [There is no notice on the Journals of Congress of his having taken the oath.]
Elbridge Gerry, elected Vice-President, attended in the Senate on the 24th of May, 1813, and exhibited a certificate of his hav. ing taken the oath of office prescribed by law, which was read.
The war into which the country had been forced was brought to a close by the treaty of Ghent, which was signed December 24, 1814; but this treaty had scarcely been ratified, when it became necessary to commence another war for the protection of American commerce and seamen against Algerine piracies. In May, 1815, a squadron under Commodore Decatur sailed for the Mediterranean, whero the naval force of Algiers was cruising for American vessels. After capturing two of the enemy's best frigates in that sea, Decatur proceeded to the Bay of Algiers, and there dictated a treaty which secured the United States from any further molestation from that quarter. Similar treaties were also concluded with the other Barbary powers.
THE FIFTI PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
One of the few exalted characters that served his country in both a civil and military capacity, was born in Westmoreland county, Virginia, April 26, 1758, and was educated at William and Mary's College, whence he graduated in 1776, and commenced the study of the law. Anxious to aid in the struggle for independence, which had then just began, he abandoned his studies, and entered the army as a cadet-joining a corps under the gallant General Mer
He soon distinguished himself in several well-fought battles, and rapid promotion followed, until he reached the rank of captain. He was at Harlem Heights, and White Plains, and shared the perils and fatigues of the distressing retreat of Washington through New Jerscy, as well as the glory of the victory over the Hessians at Trenton, where he received a musket-ball in the shoulder; notwithstanding which, he valiantly “fought out the fight." He subsequently accepted the post of an aid to Lord Stirling, with the rank of Major, in which position he saw much hard service--being engaged in almost every conflict for the two succeeding campaigns, and displaying great courage and coolness at the bloody battles of Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth.
Aspiring to a separate command, he obtained permission to raise a regiment in his native State; for which purpose he left the army, and returned to Virginia, where he encountered so many unexpected and discouraging obstacles, that he finally relinquished the enterprise, and resumed his law studies in the office of Mr. Jefferson.
In 1780, he was elected to the Virginia Legislature, and in the following year was made one of Governor Jefferson's council, in which he continued until 1783, when, at the age of twenty-four years, he became a member of the Continental Congress. After serving three years in that body, he was again returned to the State Legislature.
In 1788, while a member of the Convention to decide upon the adoption of the new Constitution, he voted in the minority against that instrument; but this vote did not at all affect his popularity. Two years afterward he was elected United States Senator, and in 1794 he was sent envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the Court of Versailles. After settling the cession of Louisiana to the United States, he went to England to succeed Mr. King as minister at the court of St. James. The affair of the frigate Chesapeake placing him in an uncomfortable situation, he returned to the United States, and, in 1810, was once more elected to the Virginia Legislature. He was soon after chosen Governor of that State, in which office he remained until Mr. Madison called him to assume the duties of Secretary of State in his cabinet. In 1817, he was eleated President of the United States, and in 1821 was unanimously reëlected, with the exception of a single vote in New Hampshire. His administration was a prosperous and quiet one.
He apited with Jefferson and Madison in founding the University of Virginia; and when the convention was formed for the revision of the Constitution of his State, he was called to preside over its action. Not long after this, he went to reside with a beloved daughter (the wife of Samuel L. Gouverneur, Esq.) in New York City, where he lived until the anniversary of Independence, in 1831, when, " amidst the pealing joy and congratulations of that proud day, he passed quietly and in glory away."