Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 19 April 1811

From James Madison

W.1 Apl 19. 1811

Dear Sir

I have recd your favor of  2 containing the requested extract from Armstrong’s letter relating to Warden. A. has entangled himself in such gross inconsistencies, that he may perhaps not execute this threat to vindicate his removal of W. agst my reinstatement of him. This consideration alone will restrain his enmity agst both of us. You will see the conflict in which he is engaged with Fulton. Pinkney is weekly expected by the return of the Essex. Previous to his taking leave of the Prince Regt he ascertained by a correspondence with Wellesley, that his stay was wished for the mere purpose of delay and delusion. The mission of Foster, like that of Rose, plays the same game. The Convalescence of the King renders the Prince a Cypher; and his Cabinet is inflexible in its folly & depravity. The inclosed paper of Poulson, publishes from the “Courierthe3 Cabinet paper, the doctrine which is to4 be maintained & modified for the purposes of plunder. We have been long without official intelligence from France. The last was not unfavorable. Appearances & reports have of late engendered suspicions of foul play. The arrivals of two vessels from Bayonne, in the Delaware, with the notice of others to follow, indicate a renewal of trade. On the other hand extracts of letters seem to imply a continuance of the Iron policy in that quarter. The symptoms of approaching war between France & Russia seem to multiply. I am sorry to trouble you with a recurrence to your dormant files, but as I know the facility afforded by the method of them, I will ask the favor of you look5 under the “Anonymous” head for a long letter or letters, written from London, in the beginning of 1809; in a disguised hand, & signed “A Man.” If recd at all, it probably was forwarded by Lyman.

Affectionately & respectfully

James Madison

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 21 Apr. 1811 and so recorded in SJL.

Madison suspected that John Armstrong was involved in a series of newspaper editorials linking Robert fulton and Joel Barlow in a profit-making scheme based on Fulton’s torpedo experiments (New-York Evening Post, 21, 22 Mar. 1811). Madison forwarded a Philadelphia newspaper reprint of a January 1811 editorial from the London courier stating that an end to tensions between Great Britain and the United States was neither likely nor even desirable. It added that Britain should explicitly assert its control of the seas and neither relax its restrictions on trade, nor stop searching American vessels and impressing its seamen, nor apologize for the Chesapeake affair (Philadelphia Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 17 Apr. 1811).

1Abbreviation for “Washington.”

2Space for date left blank in manuscript. Madison referred to TJ’s letter of 7 Apr. 1811.

3Reworked from “P’s.”

4Madison here canceled “provide the pretext.”

5Thus in manuscript.

Index Entries

  • anonymous correspondence; letters from search
  • Armstrong, John; and profit-making scheme search
  • Barlow, Joel; and profit-making scheme search
  • Chesapeake, USS (frigate); incident (1807) search
  • Essex, USS search
  • Foster, Augustus John; British minister to U.S. search
  • Fulton, Robert; and profit-making scheme search
  • George, Prince Regent (later George IV, king of Great Britain); as Prince of Wales search
  • George III, king of Great Britain; recovers health search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; anonymous letters to search
  • London; Courier search
  • Lyman, William; and anonymous letter search
  • Madison, James; and D. B. Warden search
  • Madison, James; and J. Armstrong search
  • Madison, James; letters from search
  • Madison, James; on British government search
  • newspapers; Philadelphia Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser search
  • Philadelphia; Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser search
  • Pinkney, William; as U.S. minister to Great Britain search
  • Pinkney, William; returns to U.S. search
  • Rose, George Henry search
  • Wellesley, Richard Wellesley, Marquess; British foreign minister search