James Madison Papers
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From James Madison to Dolley Madison, 28 October 1805

To Dolley Madison

Washington Octr. 28. 1805

My dearest,

I reached the end of my journey on Saturday Evening; without accident and in good health. I found your friends here all well. Payne arrived about an hour after I did. I inclose a letter from him, with several others. During my halt at Baltimore, I made two efforts to see Bishop Carroll, but without success. Genl. Smith had not returned to Town from his Country Seat. I could do nothing therefore towards getting a birth for Payne in the seminary of Mr. Dubourg.1 I have lost no time however in making an attempt for the purpose, by a request which is gone in a letter to Bishop Carroll, and if his answer authorizes me, I shall take immediate steps for preventing any further loss of time. Docr. Willis has signified to Gooch that he wishes if we should not load the waggon ourselves on its return from Washington, to provide a conveyance for some of his furniture, and will with that view contribute a pair of Horses to the Team. May I not assent to this arrangement, without inconvenience to our own plans? Let me know as soon as possible. The Yellow Woman of Docr W. has applied to me for a passage in the Waggon, and I have given her to understand that there would probably be no objection to it.2 Docr. & Miss Park had before my arrival gone to Alexa. They are to return hither tomorrow. I hope you did not fail to execute my commission as to Miss P. I had the pleasure of dining yesterday with Cousin Isaac at the Presidents, and can venture to say that——.3

Present my best respects to Dr. Physic, and let me know that I shall soon have you with me, which is most anxiously desired by your ever affectionate

J. Madison

This is the first mail that has been closed since my arrival.

RC offered for sale by Early American History Auctions, Inc., 10 June 2000, item A024317; Tr (owned by Mrs. George B. Cutts, Wellesley, Mass., 1982). Cover sheet addressed to “Mrs. Madison at Mrs. Woods Market near 8th Street Philada.”

1Louis Guillaume Valentin Dubourg (1766–1833) was born at Saint-Domingue but was sent to his grandparents at Bordeaux when he was two. He was educated in France and ordained in 1790. Forced to leave after the French Revolution, he arrived in Baltimore in 1794, where he joined the Sulpicians of St. Mary’s Seminary. In 1796 he was named president of Georgetown College, a post he held for two years. He founded St. Mary’s College in 1805 and served as its head until 1812, when Archbishop John Carroll named him Administrator Apostolic of New Orleans, where he was opposed by Father Antoine de Sedella. In 1815 he went to Rome to enlist more clergy and religious for the diocese, and while there he was ordained bishop. He returned to the United States in 1817 and went to live at St. Louis because of the opposition of Sedella and his followers. Dubourg returned to New Orleans in 1820, but five years later he again encountered disaffection among the clergy and resigned. The following year he returned to France, where he was named bishop of Montauban and later Besançon (Conrad, Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, 1:257–58).

2The preceding sentence is omitted from the Tr.

3Left blank in RC.

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