The Right Reverend James Madison (1749 - 1812) was the first bishop of the Diocese of Virginia of the Episcopal Church, USA. He was also a student (1770-1772) "Provisional List of Alumni", professor of philosophy (1772-1775), and president (1777-1812) of William & Mary.
Madison was born near Staunton, Virginia on August 27, 1749, the son of John Madison and Agatha Strother. He was a cousin of U.S. President James Madison, Jr. (1751-1836). He studied law under George Wythe and was admitted to the bar though he did not practice law. Madison taught natural philosophy and mathematics at the college from 1773 to 1775, when he went to England to be ordained a priest of the Church of England. In 1777, he was elected president of William & Mary, serving until his death in 1812. Madison served as chaplain of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1777 and organized his students into a militia company during the American Revolution. Though Madison was the president during the remainder of the American Revolution, the college was closed from June 1, 1781 to October 1782, due to the conflict. He presided over the first convention of the Diocese of Virginia in 1785 and was consecrated bishop on September 19, 1790, in Canterbury, England. He died on March 6, 1812, and is buried under the Wren Chapel William & Mary.
Material in the Special Collections Research Center
- Bishop James Madison, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library.
- "Bishop James Madison and the Republic of Virtue", by Charlse Crowe, in The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Feb., 1964), pp. 58 - 70.