James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Joshua Gilpin, 19 June 1811 (Abstract)

§ From Joshua Gilpin1

19 June 1811, Philadelphia. Wrote to Barlow some weeks ago soliciting through him “the appointment to a Consular Office, Agency, or some similar object in England.”2 Has been informed by Barlow that JM expressed himself “in terms which command the utmost respect and gratitude which I can feel.” Hesitates to trouble JM again, but is on the eve of departing for abroad. “It was my intention at the time I wrote to Mr Barlow, to remain in this country probably some time, and to wait here the chance of any object which might occurr.” But his concern for the welfare of his family on the voyage has convinced him “to embark with them in a few days.” Believes that the imminent return of Pinkney and the expected arrival of Foster might create an opportunity for an appointment. Defends his motives for seeking a position and admits that the emolument is a concern “in a country where the expences of life are beyond those here and where public duties of any kind still increase that expence.” As a merchant, has experienced losses during the last four years, but maintains it is the duty of everyone “to submit to those measures which the public interests require.”

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17, filed under “Gilpin”). 3 pp.

1Joshua Gilpin (1765–1841) belonged to a prominent Philadelphia family of merchants, manufacturers, and land developers. He had traveled in Europe between 1794 and 1801, during which time he married Mary Dilworth, the daughter of a Lancashire banker. His son Henry Dilworth Gilpin, attorney general in the administration of Martin Van Buren, oversaw the final editing and publication of the first edition of JM’s writings, The Papers of James Madison … Being His Correspondence and Reports of Debates during the Congress of the Confederation and His Reports of Debates in the Federal Convention (3 vols.; Washington, 1840) (see Joseph E. Walker, ed., Pleasure and Business in Western Pennsylvania: The Journal of Joshua Gilpin, 1809 [Harrisburg, Pa., 1975], pp. iii–v; 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 , 1:xviii).

2Gilpin to Joel Barlow, 16 May 1811 (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17).

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