James Madison Papers

To James Madison from David Bailie Warden, 26 January 1813

From David Bailie Warden

Paris, 26 Jan. 1813.


The mournful event of mr. Barlows, death, has placed in my hands, the affairs of the Legation.1 In supplying this vacancy, it shall be my utmost endeavor to merit your approbation.2 It is unfortunate, that the negotiation is averted, at a moment, when the mind of this Government seems earnest for arrangement. Dr. Stephens, whom I send as a confidential messenger, will communicate to you the current news, and a summary of facts which I think prudent not to commit to paper.

I take the liberty of sending, for your inspection, the outline of a treatise on Consular establishments, which, with your approbation, I propose to publish.3 I should be much gratified, by your permission, to dedicate it to you. The sudden departure of Doctor Stephens, to whom I have confided it, does not allow time to prepare a corrected copy; and I send this rough sketch merely to give you an idea of the manner in which the subject is treated. I am, Sir, with great respect; your most obedt and very humbe Servt

David Bailie Warden

RC (DLC); letterbook copy (MdHi: Warden Papers).

1Ruth Barlow wrote to Monroe on 10 Feb. 1813, stating that she had intended to send her nephew, Thomas Barlow, to the U.S. to convey “some communications” but that “Mr. Wardens indelicate, & I think incorrect conduct has obliged me to detain him to protect the private papers which regard the negociations” (DNA: RG 59, ML).

2In a circular letter addressed to consuls and dated 19 Jan. 1813, Warden claimed that on the basis of an official letter from the duc de Bassano of 16 Jan. 1813, he was “the only Commissioned agent and organ of our Government, at Paris,” and he invited all consuls to correspond with him “on subjects relating to the interests of our Citizens and government” (DNA: RG 59, CD, Paris). For Warden’s alleged misdemeanors and breach of protocol, see Isaac Cox Barnet to Monroe, 23 Feb. 1813, enclosing extracts from George Erving to Barnet of 3 and 17 Feb. (ibid.). Monroe forwarded Barnet’s letter with a note on the cover: “For the President.” Warden continued to act as the official representative of the U.S. to France until William H. Crawford dismissed him in May 1814. JM, writing to Jefferson on 23 Oct. 1814, admitted that Warden, after the death of Joel Barlow, “behaved badly to Mrs. Barlow, and having made himself acceptable to the French Govt thro’ his intimacy with subalterns, he seized, with its concurrence, the station for which he had as little of qualifications as of pretensions” (DLC).

3Enclosure not found. Warden’s treatise was later published as On the Origin, Nature, Progress and Influence of Consular Establishments (Paris, 1813). Warden dedicated it “To the President and Senate of the United-States … as a public memorial of the respect and gratitude of the author” (3).

Index Entries