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The Papers of James Madison
2 April–31 August 1804Secretary of State Series, Volume 7
James Madison. Edited by David B. Mattern, J. C. A. Stagg, Ellen J. Barber, Anne Mandeville Colony, Angela Kreider, and Jeanne Kerr Cross
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Volume 7 of the Presidential Series, covering the period between late October 1813 and June 1814, documents Madison's response to diplomatic developments and European military events affecting the course of the war between the United States and Great Britain. Early in 1814 the president accepted an offer of direct peace negotiations, but his country's military situation did not augur well for the outcome of the talks. He sought to improve U.S. diplomatic prospects by strengthening commercial ties with European powers in the wake of Napoleon's defeat, and by resolving a controversy with Great Britain over the status and treatment of prisoners of war. Mindful, however, that the peace talks might not succeed, Madison also supervised planning for the next U.S. military campaign and oversaw the difficult task of raising a loan to finance it. In the midst of these military and foreign policy concerns, the president dealt with domestic political controversies such as those surrounding his dismissal of postmaster general Gideon Granger. Some of Madison's private affairs are also documented in this volume through his correspondence with his nephew Robert Lewis Madison, letters from Taylor kinsmen in Kentucky concerning his purchase of mules, and a letter of complaint from a disgruntled former White House steward. In addition, there is the Edinburgh Review editor Francis Jeffrey's revealing account of his conversations with Madison in November 1813. Access to people, places, and events of the period is facilitated by detailed annotation and a comprehensive index.

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