James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Benjamin Stoddert and Others, 18 February 1794

From Benjamin Stoddert and Others

George Town 18. Feby 1794


We have the honor to inclose, the proceedings of a number of the Inhabitants of the Territory of Columbia in relation to the establishment of a College in the City of Washington, or its vicinity.1 You will perceive Sir, that the meeting have taken the Freedom to place your name in the list of those they have solicited to receive subscriptions.

If your more important avocations will permit you to pay any attention to the wishes of the persons by whom we are deputed to be thus troublesom, you would lay them under additional obligations, if you would be so good as to forward to us, by the 21st. of next month, the names of those who encourage the projected institution, by subscriptions to your paper. We have the honor to be with great respect sir Yr. most obed Servts.

Ben Stoddert

Jas M Lingan

J Mason.

RC (DLC). Addressed by Stoddert to JM in Philadelphia and franked. Docketed by JM. Enclosure not found, but see n. 1.

1The committee enclosed a broadside, At a Meeting of a Number of Inhabitants of the Territory of Columbia, on the 4th of February 1794 … (Georgetown, 1794; Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … 1639 … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). Roger P. Bristol, ed., Supplement to Charles Evans’ American Bibliography (Charlottesville, Va., 1970). description ends 46966). Robert Peter, mayor of Georgetown, presided at the meeting where a resolution passed “that a Seminary of Learning … be established in the City of Washington, on the heights near Rock-Creek.” JM was named on a list of forty-six “gentlemen [to] be solicited to take charge” of raising $50,000 by selling shares at $20 each. The meeting appointed Stoddert, James Maccubbin Lingan, and John Mason (three of the original proprietors of the federal district) as “a committee to cause these proceedings to be printed and copies sent to the different gentlemen named to solicit subscriptions.” In a 15 Dec. 1794 letter to Edmund Randolph, Washington asked the secretary of state to consult with JM about “the measures which will be proper for me to pursue” regarding the “plan … for establishing a Seminary of learning upon an extensive scale in the Federal city” (Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799 (39 vols.; Washington, 1931–44). description ends , 34:59). The project was unsuccessful.

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