James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Ogilvie, 18 May 1810 (Abstract)

§ From James Ogilvie

18 May 1810, Augusta. Thanks JM for his “friendly letter [not found] … in reply to one which I took the liberty to address to you from Portland.”1 Plans to spend several months in Kentucky, in “seclusion & solitary study,” to work on a series of orations: “‘The Progress & Prospects of society in the U.S.’—‘The Licentiousness of the Press & the most eligible & probably efficient corrective of this fundamental evil’—And ‘The nature, effects and tendencies of moral Fiction.’” Asks JM to suggest further topics “to be illustrated from the Rostrum.” Encloses for JM’s perusal “a little hasty publication,” mentioning that he reveres the memory of Charles Brown and knows his biographer Allen.2 Also encloses a “little effusion” [not found] which he hopes Dolley Madison will read.

RC (DLC). 4 pp. Docketed by JM. For surviving enclosure, see n. 2.

1Ogilvie to JM, 20 June 1809 (DLC). James Ogilvie (1760–1820) emigrated from Scotland in 1779 and taught school in Virginia. He visited JM in 1799. He wrote several pamphlets and traveled widely as an orator (Walter Jones to JM, 27 July 1799, PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1-10, Chicago, 1962-77, vols. 11-17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977-91). description ends , 17:255–56 and n. 1).

2Ogilvie evidently enclosed a one-page printed circular letter by “A Stranger” inviting subscriptions to support the publication of the “memoirs of the life of C. B. BROWN deceased to which will be annexed copious selections from his writings” (DLC: Madison Collection, Rare Book Division). This circular was probably an early notice for the projected biography of Charles Brockden Brown by Paul Allen, an assistant editor for Joseph Dennie’s Philadelphia Port Folio. Allen failed to complete the biography, and he relinquished his contract in 1814 to William Dunlap, who published The Life of Charles Brockden Brown in Philadelphia in 1815. A volume of Allen’s uncompleted biography was published under the title of The Late Charles Brockden Brown in 1976 (see Robert E. Hemenway and Joseph Katz, eds., The Late Charles Brockden Brown [Columbia, S.C., 1976], pp. vii-xxix).

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