James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Alexander H. Stevens, 10 August 1813

From Alexander H. Stevens

Washington 10 August 1813.


I have the honor to inform your Excellency that I arrived yesterday in this Capital a messenger from Mr Warden the acting Chargé d’Affairs of the United States in February last; the time at which I left Paris to proceed to Washington Your Excellency will readily attribute to British Capture the lateness of my arrival here. I regret to add that except one to Mr Graham my Despatches were sunk at the moment when our Flag was struck to the enemy.

I have the honor to forward to Your Excellency through Mr Graham two packages of recent French publications & a number of manuscript sheets from Mr Warden.1 This gentleman begged me respectfully to inform Your Excellency that his work was yet imperfect & unfinished—requiring much of the labor limæ2 and greatly needing an indulgent opinion from Your Excellency. With great deference he submits it to Your Excellency’s inspection.

I have had the honor to communicate to the Hon the Secretary of State sundry observations imparted to me by Mr Warden as of a nature not proper to be committed to paper. I apprehend it will not be necessary for me to trouble your Excellency with these communications and have therefore only to add that I am With great Sincerity Your Excellencies Most obedient & Humble Servant

Alexr H. Stevens


1For the manuscript, see David Bailie Warden to JM, 26 Jan. 1813, PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (6 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 5:623, 624 n. 3.

2Labor limæ: labor of the file. The allusion is to Horace’s Ars Poetica, lines 289–91: “nec virtute foret clarisve potentius armis / quam lingua Latium, si non offenderet unum / quemque poetarum limae labor et mora” (“Nor would Latium be more supreme in valour and glory of arms than in letters, were it not that her poets, one and all, cannot brook the toil and tedium of the file”) (Horace: Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica, Loeb Classical Library [1970 reprint], 474–75).

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