James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Ebenezer H. Cummins, 23 July 1811 (Abstract)

§ From Ebenezer H. Cummins1

23 July 1811. Has just heard that “the consulship at Tripoli is without an officer, in consequence of Mr. Payne’s determination not to return again.” If so, he offers his services. Has been disappointed and deceived in his expectations of military life where his present rank is “discouraging.” Would prefer an active life. Refers JM to Dolley Madison and Monroe “who have had some better opportunities of knowing me and my pretensions.”

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17, filed under “Cummins”). 4 pp. Marked “private.”

1Ebenezer Harlow Cummins (1774–1848) first wrote to JM on 31 July 1808 seeking a clerkship in the State Department (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–9). He evidently settled in the District of Columbia, where in May 1813 he became publisher of the Georgetown Spirit of ’Seventy-Six, a position from which he was ousted by November of that year when he announced that he would establish the Senator, a journal to be devoted to publishing the proceedings of that body. After 1815 he appears to have resided in Philadelphia where he became the editor of the Evangelical Repository. He published several works, including a Biographical Memoir of Aaron Burr, D.D., Senior (1816), A Summary Geography of Alabama (1819), and with JM’s approval in 1820, a critical edition of a British account of the War of 1812, Baine’s History of the Late War (Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1:94; Cummins to JM, 13 Dec. 1820, JM to Cummins, 26 Dec. 1820 [DLC]).

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