James Madison Papers

To James Madison from David Bailie Warden, 18 October 1809

From David Bailie Warden

Paris, 18 october, 1809


I am almost ashamed to address you again on the subject of my continuance here as Consul and agent of Prize Causes, but my anxiety prompts me to it. With General Armstrongs’ advice, I had proposed to embark for Washington, on board the vessel which carries this, charged with his dispatches and communications, but the arrival of the Wasp has destroyed my project, and prevented me from having the honor of being personally known to you. I still flatter myself, that you will be pleased to nominate, and recommend me to the Senate as Consul for Paris. I shall labor to be as useful as possible to you, and to the Government. All other pursuits shall yield to my duties in this respect. General Armstrong promises to write to you in my behalf.1 I am now much occupied with the business of Prize-Causes, being charged with the defense of several Vessels and their Cargoes. The intention of the Emperor with regard to those that have not infringed the laws of blockade, is yet unknown. Much will depend on the success, or failure of the projects he has formed. It is suspected that all those vessels, whose destination was for England, or that have been visited by her vessels of war, will be condemned by the Council of Prizes, if that Court is permitted to decide upon them. This, however, depends on the Emperors’ Will.2 His arrival in Paris is daily expected.3 I am, Sir, with great respect, your very obedient, and humble Servant,

David Bailie Warden

RC and duplicate (DLC); letterbook copy (MdHi: Warden Papers). Duplicate and letter-book copy dated 17 Oct. Minor variations between the copies have not been noted.

1For Armstrong’s ambivalent recommendation of Warden to Jefferson, see PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (2 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984-). description ends , 1:155 n. 2.

2Napoleon’s response to the news of the failure of the Erskine agreement, the British orders in council of April 1809, and the terms of the Nonintercourse Act of 1809 was embodied in a decree, apparently drafted in Vienna on or about 4 Aug. 1809. Although never officially promulgated, the decree stated in effect that every American ship which entered the ports of France, Spain, or Italy would be seized and confiscated as long as the Nonintercourse Act continued to be executed against French vessels in the harbors of the U.S. Napoleon publicly indicated that these assumptions would govern his policy toward the U.S. in a letter sent from Altenburg by Champagny to Armstrong on 22 Aug. 1809 and published in the Paris Moniteur on 6 Oct. 1809 (“Minute de Décret Impérial,” art. 3 [AAE: Political Correspondence, U.S., 62:263]; Champagny to Armstrong, 22 Aug. 1809, in Henri Plon and J. Dumaine, eds., Correspondance de Napoléon 1er [32 vols.; Paris, 1858–70], 19:374–76 [translation in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States ... (38 vols.; Washington, 1832-61). description ends , Foreign Relations, 3:325–26]).

3This sentence is not on the duplicate or letterbook copy.

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