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THE FOURTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
Was born in Orange County, Virginia, March 16, 1751. His studies, preparatory to entering Princeton College, were pursued under the most favorable circumstances, he being provided with the most accomplished instructors, and be graduated with high honor in 1771. On returning to Virginia, he zealously commenced the study of the law, which he subsequently abandoned for political life.
In 1776, he was elected to the General Assembly of Virginia, and from this period, for more than forty years, he was continually in office, serving his State and his country in various capacities, from that of a State Legislator to that of President.
In 1778, he was elected by the Legislature to the executive council of the State, where he rendered important aid to Henry and Jefferson, Governors of Virginia, during the time he held a seat in the council; and by his probity of character, faithfulness in the discharge of duty, and amiableness of deportment, he won the approbation of these great men. In the winter of 1779-80, he took his seat in the Continental Congress, and became immediately an active and leading member, as the journal of that body abundantly testifies.
In 1784-5-6, he was a member of the Legislature of Virginia. In 1787, he became a member of the Convention held in Philadelphia, for the purpose of preparing a Constitution for the Government of the United States. Perhaps no member of that body had more to do with the formation of that noble instrument, the Constitution of the United States of America, than Mr. Madison.
It was during the recess between the proposition of the Constitution by the Convention of 1787, and its adoption by the States, that that celebrated work, "The Federalist," made its appearance. This is known to be the joint production of Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison. The same year he was elected to Congress, and held his seat until the Continental Congress passed away among the things that were. He was a member of the
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 administration, 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. 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 having 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, where 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 FIFTH 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 Mercer. 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 Jersey, 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