James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Frederick Dalcho, 13 August 1819

From Frederick Dalcho

Charleston, So. Ca. Augt. 13. 1819


The Subscription paper which I have the honor to enclose to you, will inform you of a work which I have just prepared for the Press.1 Although it is in the Printers hands, some little chasms yet remain to be filled.

The succession of American Bishops, with the circumstances attendant on their Consecration, are interesting & useful articles of information to Episcopalians, & hereafter, perhaps, may be so to the general Historian of our Country. It is therefore of some importance in a work on the Church to give a list of our Prelates. I have, however, failed in obtaining the necessary information of your distinguished relative, Bishop Madison.2 May I take the liberty, Sir, respectfully to ask of you the favour, to procure for me a copy of Bishop Madison’s Letters of Consecration in England? By some unaccountable omission, they have not been made a matter of record in the General Convention of our Church; & my friend Bishop White3 informs me that, the information, most probably, can only be procured through you.

Should you favour me with a copy of this Instrument, which consists of but a few lines; I will, after copying from it the information I want, transmit it to Dr. White, of Philadelphia, the Presiding Bishop in the Protestant Episcopal Church in the U. S.

I hope, Sir, you will pardon the liberty I have taken in addressing you, & that you will believe me to be With sentiments of High Regard, your Obed. Serv

Fredk. Dalcho.4

RC (DLC). Addressed by Dalcho to JM: “Late President of the United States. Virginia,” and franked. Cover docketed by JM.

1The prospectus has not been found, but it was probably for Dalcho’s An Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in South-Carolina, from the First Settlement of the Province, to the War of the Revolution; with Notices of the Present State of the Church in Each Parish: and Some Account of the Early Civil History of Carolina, Never Before Published (Charleston, 1820).

2The Right Reverend James Madison (1749–1812), JM’s cousin, was an Anglican minister and professor of natural and moral philosophy at the College of William and Mary, who served as president of the college from 1777 until his death. In 1790, he was consecrated first bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia (PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77, vols. 11–17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977–91). description ends , 1:224 n. 2; PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (6 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984—). description ends , 1:185 n. 2).

3The Right Reverend William White (1748–1836), a graduate of the College of Philadelphia was ordained an Anglican priest in London in 1772. During the American Revolution he became rector of Christ Church in Philadelphia, a position he held until his death. He drafted the constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States and collaborated on the American revision of the Book of Common Prayer. In 1787 he was consecrated first Protestant Episcopal bishop of the diocese of Pennsylvania, and after 1796, presiding bishop of the Church. He served as chaplain of the U.S. Congress when Philadelphia was the seat of the federal government.

4Frederick Dalcho (1770–1836) was an English-born physician who served in the U.S. Army, 1792–99, and settled in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1799, where he pursued private practice. In 1818 he was ordained a priest in the Protestant Episcopal Church and a year later was made assistant minister of St. Michael’s Church in Charleston.

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