James Madison Papers

To James Madison from David Bailie Warden, 26 January 1810

From David Bailie Warden

Paris, 26 January, 1810.


I have the honor of sending you by Captain Fenwick, a copy of Mr. Bottas’ “Storia della guerra americana[”]:1 this is a solid work, and is well written. The Author has been occupied with it more than three years. I had the honor of writing to you by the Ship Madison. I shall not, at present, renew the subject which so deeply interests me. I still hope that you will continue me here as Consul, if political circumstances admit of this appointment. The late orders of the Emperor concerning american vessels and their cargoes in Spain, and at Naples, are extremely hostile, and may prevent any speedy arrangement between this Country and the United States.2 I trust, Sir, that the Attack of Coleman, and other federal Editors, for my defense of General Armstrong will not injure me in the opinion of the Executive and Senate.3 As I do not see regular files of American Newspapers, I may not be acquainted with all that has been written against me. I have forwarded, for publication, by General Armstrongs’ advice, a copy of the act of my naturalisation, with some remarks on Colemans’ attack. The charge of my being a mere tool of the minister, which he so often repeats, will not be believed by those who know my principles, conduct and feelings. I have the honor, Sir, to be, with great respect, Your very obedient and very humble Servt

David Bailie Warden

P. S. Captain Fenwick will present you a Copy of the Imperial Almanack for the present year.

RC and duplicate (DLC); letterbook copy (MdHi: Warden Papers). Postscript omitted in duplicate and letterbook copy.

1On Warden’s enclosure, see Carlo Giuseppe Guglielmo Botta to JM, 12 Jan. 1810, and n.

2On 19 Dec. 1809 Napoleon ordered the seizure of all American ships and cargoes in Spanish ports occupied by France (Napoleon to the prince of Neuchâtel, 19 Dec. 1809, Plon and Dumaine, Correspondance de Napoléon 1er, 20:78).

3William Coleman, editor of the N.Y. Evening Post, attacked John Armstrong for dereliction in obtaining the release of Americans captured at sea and imprisoned in France. His article, “Villains Exposed,” called Warden the principal defender of Armstrong, “having been so constituted and appointed by Armstrong himself, in place of some more deserving and proper man.” Warden’s defense of Armstrong, absolving the American minister of any responsibility for French mistreatment of an American sea captain, was included in the article. After a friend of Warden’s threatened Coleman with legal action, the Post editor printed a bland but positive statement about Warden. This faint praise in a Federalist newspaper apparently irritated Armstrong, “and he even suspected Warden of working secretly to undermine him.” Their relationship was strained thereafter (N.Y. Evening Post, 8 Nov. 1809; Skeen, John Armstrong, p. 114; Francis C. Haber, David Bailie Warden: A Bibliographical Sketch [(Washington), 1954], pp. 12–13).

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