James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Caesar A. Rodney, 22 April 1809

To Caesar A. Rodney

Washing[ton] Apl. 22. 1809

Dear Sir

I return the letter from Mr. Duane to you.1 I find by one from Mr. Dallas to the Secretary of State, that the affair of Olmstead has passed off without the threatened collisions of force. It is bad eno’ as it is; but a blessing compared with such a result.

I do not send you because superfluous, a copy of what has passed with respect to our B. affairs. It will either produce a settlement of our French, or make them much worse. On our part, the steps deemed favorable to the former, will not be omitted. But whilst such different standards of reason & morality exist on the different sides of the Atlantic, we can not infer the course which will be taken on one, from that prescribed, on the other. Be assured of my affectionate respects.

James Madison

I know not how the mistake happened as to White’s case, whether it lay with Mr. G. or Mr. Smith.2

RC (DLC: Thomas and Caesar A. Rodney Papers).

1Letter not found, but see William Duane to JM, 3 May 1809.

2JM alludes to the contradiction between his information and implied instructions to Rodney and Chief Clerk John Graham’s letter to the attorney general—one calling for the prosecution of Bartholomew White and the other stating that JM “would agree to a Nolle prosequi” (JM to Rodney, 14 Apr. 1809; Rodney to JM, 17 Apr. 1809, enclosure).

Index Entries