James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Oliver Whipple, 22 October 1811 (Abstract)

§ From Oliver Whipple

22 October 1811, Georgetown. Has been unable to call on JM in person and, fearing that his prospects for either a consular appointment at Glasgow or an Indian agency are vanishing, seeks the position of sergeant at arms in the U.S. Senate, recently vacated by the death of Mr. Mathers.1 “Your Excellency has it in your Power, to do me essential Service, thro’ the medium & Friendship of the honble. Mr. [Richard] Cutts of the House, he is personally acquainted with the members of the Senate; your Intimations to him, backed with your good wishes to oblige me, would induce him to use his influence with the Senate.” A similar suggestion to Mr. Varnum would also be gratefully acknowledged. Had intended to leave for New England this fall, but now that this vacancy has occurred, he will try his fortune with the Senate. “I have this Satisfaction That I have of late rendered your Excellency Services (tho’ unknown to You) and it is in my Power further to do so, on many Occasions.” Has sent a circular to all members of the Senate on the advice of friends, “on the Tenor of the one inclosed.” Sends a copy to JM to show the grounds for his actions.2

RC (DLC); enclosure (DLC: Madison Collection, Rare Book Division). RC 2 pp. Docketed by JM. For enclosure, see n. 2.

1James Mathers died on 2 Sept. 1811. Mountjoy Bailey of Maryland was elected as his successor on 6 Nov. 1811.

2Whipple enclosed a printed circular letter, dated 22 Oct. 1811 (1 p.), describing his background in New Hampshire and Maine and seeking the position of sergeant at arms on the grounds that he intended to reside in the capital and practice law in Georgetown while also fulfilling the duties of the Senate post. This appointment would allow him to bring his family to Washington and he would be “enabled with economy to live in a decent manner, and not unmindful of benefactors.”

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