James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from William F. Gray, 7 September 1818

From William F. Gray

Fredericksburg Sept. 7. 1818

Sir,

At the request of Mr Todd I have procured the Analectic Magazine1 to sent [sic] on by Mail for you, and I herewith forward the No. for Sept. That for Aug. had been sent off by Water, before I gave the necessary directions to the publisher, and has not yet reached me. It shall be sent to you as soon as recd.

I have made enquiry respecting Wilson’s Ornithology and Pinkerton’s Voyages & Travels.2 “The latter,” says my correspondent, “stopt short some years ago, and it is doubtful whether it will ever proceed.” Wilson’s Work has been continued as far, I believe, as the 11th. Vol. which I will procure for you if you desire it. I think you informed me you had the work as far as the 9th. Vol.

I also take the liberty of sending for your inspection the first number of “Proffessor Silliman’s Journal,” the eighth no. of the “Journal of Science & the Arts,” and “Dissertation 3rd. by Professor Brande.”3 I shall be pleased with your permission to furnish you with the whole series of either or all of these works. If this is not agreable to you, have the goodness to return them. Very Respectfully Your Obt. Svt.

Wm. F. Gray4

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1The Analectic Magazine, published in Philadelphia between 1813 and 1821, was a compendium of articles, reviews, and miscellany, some original but most republished from English literary magazines. Edited by Washington Irving for the first two years of its life, it contained contributions by Irving, James K. Paulding, and Gulian C. Verplanck, among others. At the time of this letter, the magazine was edited by Thomas Isaac Wharton (Frank Luther Mott, A History of American Magazines, 1741–1850 [New York, 1930], 279–83).

2Alexander Wilson, American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings Taken from Nature (9 vols.; Philadelphia, 1808–14; Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 16749). The seventeenth volume of John Pinkerton’s General Collection of the Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World had been published in London in 1814.

3William Thomas Brande, Dissertation Third: Exhibiting a General View of the Progress of Chemical Philosophy, from the Early Ages to the End of the Eighteenth Century ([Boston, 1818]; Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 43439).

4William Fairfax Gray (1787–1841) was a Fredericksburg printer and bookseller at the time JM corresponded with him. Gray served later as postmaster of Fredericksburg. In 1835 he was admitted to the Virginia bar and travelled to Texas on business, where he participated in the Texas Revolution. His diary remains one of the most important sources for explicating the events of that time. In 1837 he moved permanently to Houston, Texas, where he practiced law (Andrew Forest Muir, “William Fairfax Gray, Founder of Christ Church Cathedral, Houston,” Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church 28 [1959]: 341–44).

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