James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Louis Dubois, 5 March 1809

From Louis Dubois

Charleston, march 5th. 1809.


I send you a march which I composed in your honor, I take the liberty to offer it to you as the tribute of a Stranger to your eminent talents and patriotism which brought you to the first seat of these united States.

It is only a march, but in the scale of society, who pay his Share of talents and usefulness to the common good, has done his duty; as the head of this Enlightened Republic, I hope, you will see my work in that light and as my apology for my intruding upon your precious moments, I will be happy, if approving of it, you give me leave to Stamp my march with your name,1 then with such flattering recommendation, it will go to posterity; in this hope, I have the honor to be: waiting for your answer; Sir, your most obedient and Respecful Servant

Louis Dubois,
Professor of music

RC (ViU). Docketed by JM. Enclosure not found.

1Dubois performed on the clarinet in two 1808 concerts but thereafter left no trace in the musical life of Charleston. His composition was part of a growing tradition of marches written to commemorate presidential inaugurations. Charles Southgate wrote “President Madison’s March, for a Full Band,” published in the Richmond Visitor, 15 July 1809, and Peter Weldon wrote “President Madison’s March, Arranged for the Piano Forte, Flute, or Violin,” published in New York circa 1809 by I. and M. Paff. Apparently Southgate’s and Weldon’s marches are the only compositions honoring Madison’s inauguration that have survived (John Joseph Hindman, “Concert Life in Ante Bellum Charleston” [Ph.D. diss., NcU, 1971], pp. 341–42; Harry Dichter and Elliott Shapiro, Early American Sheet Music: Its Lure and Its Lore, 1768–1889 [New York, 1941], p. 1).

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