Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 23 October 1814

From James Madison

Washington Ocr 23. 1814.

Dear Sir

I have recd yours of Ocr  . with that inclosed from Warden. His tale is plausibly told but entitled to little confidence. Be assured he is not the man he passed for with all of us originally. His apparent modesty & suavity cover ambition vanity avidity (from poverty at least) & intrigue. These traits began to betray themselves before he last left the U.S. on his arrival in Paris with his office confirmed by the Senate, they rapidly disclosed themselves. And on the death of Barlow, & the scuffle for the Charge of our affairs, the mask fell off entirely. He behaved badly to Mrs Barlow, and having made himself acceptable to the French Govt1 thro’ his intimacy with subalterns, he seized, with its concurrence, the station for which he had as little of qualifications as of pretensions. Crawford carried with him our view of W’s character, and his experience in Paris has greatly strengthened it. He states circumstances convicting W. of equal impudence & mendacity. The friends of the latter there consist of the Irish, and persons of rank & Science to whom he has paid his court, and passed himself for the favorite of certain2 individuals here as well as of the Govt. Crawford is a man of strong intellect & sound integrity: but of a temper not perhaps sufficiently pliant, or manners sufficiently polished for diplomatic life. These however will improve, whilst3 he remains abroad, I cannot believe that his high tone of mind would have permitted him to be jealous of a man whom he must justly regard4 as so infinitely below him. I return you Wardens letter; & that, if you chuse you may prevent the possibility of future publicity to yours to me, I inclose yours with it, and keep no copy of this.

Affecly yours

J. M.

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 26 Oct. 1814 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) David Bailie Warden to TJ, 25 July [1814]. (2) TJ to Madison, 13 Oct. 1814.

Warden last left the u.s. in August 1811 to become America’s consul at Paris (Alexandria Daily Gazette, Commercial & Political, 7 Aug. 1811; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:173, 174–5 [1, 3 Mar. 1811]). William H. Crawford, the United States minister plenipotentiary to France, accused Warden of impudence & mendacity in his letters to James Monroe of 20, 22 Sept. 1813, and 16 Jan. 1814 (DNA: RG 59, DD, France).

1Word interlined.

2Word interlined.

3Word interlined in place of “and.”

4Reworked from “he justly regards.”

Index Entries

  • Barlow, Joel; death of search
  • Barlow, Ruth Baldwin (Joel Barlow’s wife); dispute with D. B. Warden search
  • Crawford, William Harris; and D. B. Warden’s removal as consul search
  • Crawford, William Harris; J. Madison on search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and D. B. Warden search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); letters from search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); on W. H. Crawford search
  • Senate, U.S.; and appointments search
  • Warden, David Bailie; conflict with Barlows search
  • Warden, David Bailie; J. Madison on search
  • Warden, David Bailie; removed from consulship search