James Madison Papers
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From James Madison to Joseph G. Swift, 31 May 1824

To Joseph G. Swift

Montpr. May 31. 1824


I have recd yr. communication1 on the subject of the fund belonging to the Mil: & Phil: Socy. and return this expression of whatever assent may be proper on my part to a transfer of it to the use of the N Y Lyceum of Nat: Hist: to which I wish all the success wch. is due to so praiseworthy an Institution.

Draft (DLC). Joseph Gardner Swift (1783–1865), the first graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, was appointed second lieutenant in 1802. A veteran of the War of 1812, he rose to colonel and commander of the Corps of Engineers of the army, holding that position until his resignation from the service in 1818. He was surveyor of the port of New York, 1818–29, and later supervised harbor improvements on the Great Lakes, and railroad construction in Louisiana (Heidler and Heidler, Encyclopedia of the War of 1812, 496–97; Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 3:315, 317; Fredriksen, American Military Leaders, 2:788–90).

1The “communication” has not been found, but it was surely the circular letter from Swift, dated 21 May 1824, proposing a transfer of funds to the New York Lyceum of Natural History (printed in Herman Le Roy Fairchild, A History of the New York Academy of Sciences: Formerly the Lyceum of Natural History [New York, 1887], 111–12). For a description of the society, see Sidney Forman, “The United States Military Philosophical Society, 1802–13,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly. description ends , 3rd ser., 2 (1945): 273–85. The transfer of funds to the lyceum followed the dissolution of the society.

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