James Madison Papers

To James Madison from the Calliopean Society of Transylvania University, 10 May 1819

From the Calliopean Society
of Transylvania University

Transylvania University May 10th. 1819

Respected Sir.

We the undersigned having been appointed by the members of the Calliopean Society,1 to inform you of your being unanimously elected an honorary member of said Society, deem it essentially necessary to inform you of our motives, and intentions. They are purely literary and are designed exclusively for the promulgation of useful knowledge, uniting its members in the indissoluble bands of unity, concord, and brotherly love, and for preserving sacred and inviolate our federal and state Constitutions. Knowing our intentions to be pure and conscious that the worth of any Society is estimated by the characters who compose it, we have thout proper to associate with ours, none but men distinguished for their literary acquirments, esteemed for their virtues, or reverenced for their piety; such a man as this can alone confer honor on our Society, and among this number we esteem You. Could you (if ever you should visit the western country) make it convenient to attend our meetings, it will afford a heartfelt gratification, and pleasure to our Society. Respectfully Yours &c

Vachel Worthington2 { Actg
Geo. Washington Anderson3 Committee

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1This was one of many literary societies named for Calliope, the muse of heroic poetry, founded in the United States. One of the earliest was the Calliopean Society of New York, established in 1788 (Eleanor Bryce Scott, “Early Literary Clubs in New York City,” American Literature 5 (1933): 10, 12–15).

2Vachel Worthington (b. 1802) from Kentucky, graduated from Transylvania University in 1822 and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he became a prominent lawyer, serving in the Senate of the Ohio General Assembly, 1874–75 (John C. Hover et al., eds., Memoirs of the Miami Valley [3 vols.; Chicago, 1919], 2:623; John Niven et al., eds., The Salmon P. Chase Papers [5 vols.; Kent, Ohio, 1993–98], 1:580 n. 19; The Biographical Annals of Ohio [Springfield, Ohio, 1905], 338).

3George Washington Anderson married Eleanor Murdock Hart in 1821 and became a merchant in Louisville, Kentucky. Henry Clay was a trustee for property owned by Anderson’s wife (Hopkins et al., Papers of Henry Clay, 3:117–18 and n. 1).

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