James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Armstrong, 23 January 1811

From John Armstrong

Washington 23d January 1811


Understanding that Mr. James Bowdoin while residing in France, had transmitted to the President of the United States a deposition made in Paris, in the Year 1807, by Chs. M. Somers of that City, and being possessed of a second Deposition, made by the said Somers on the subject of the former, I have conceived it to be my duty to forward to You this last & with it sundry other papers numbered, on their margins, 1, 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.1

On these communications I forbear all remark, excepting to express a degree of surprize, that Mr. Bowdoin should have placed any confidence in the declarations of a man so entirely destitute of principle & character as Chs. M. Somers who had been ejected from the Office of Sworn Interpreter to the Council of liquidation, for a false & fraudulent exercise of his public functions. I have the honor to be Sir with very high consideration Your most obedient & very huml Sert.

John Armstrong

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, DD, France). RC in a clerk’s hand, signed by Armstrong. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1The enclosures concerned a subject Armstrong had previously raised with JM in his letter of 6 May 1810, namely the suspicion voiced by James Bowdoin that Armstrong had been engaged in land speculation while negotiating for the purchase of the Floridas in 1806 (see PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (3 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984—). description ends , 2:332–33 and n. 1). The enclosures, numbered by Armstrong, are (1) Charles Somers to Armstrong, 20 May 1810 (2 pp.), explaining his deposition relating to Armstrong and attaching to it (2) a copy of his deposition to James Bowdoin of 5 Feb. 1807 (4 pp.; in French) and (3) Somers to Armstrong, 20 May 1810 (4 pp.; in French), with a postscript in Armstrong’s hand stating that Leonard Jarvis had sworn that nos. 1 and 3 were in the hand of Somers and that no. 2 was a true copy of a document referred to in nos. 1 and 3; (4) a copy of Armstrong to T. Nancrede, 20 Apr. 1810 (1 p.), requesting a written statement of a conversation held the previous day; (5) a copy of Armstrong to Somers, 15 May 1810 (1 p.), submitting to him a copy of Nancrede’s letter of 1 May 1810 and requiring from him an explanation of his conduct in implicating Armstrong in land speculation schemes; (6) T. Nancrede to Armstrong, 1 May 1808 [1810] (2 pp.), affirming that Somers had given an affidavit to Bowdoin containing material harmful to Armstrong’s reputation; (7) a copy of Armstrong to Daniel Parker, 24 May 1810 (1 p.), sending him the deposition by Somers; and (8) Parker to Armstrong, 25 May 1810 (2 pp.), stating that there was no truth in the deposition by Somers.

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