James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Charles Bagot, 5 September 1817

From Charles Bagot

Washington Sepr: 5. 1817

Dear Sir,

I yesterday received your very kind letter of the 31st of last month, and we should immediately have set out on our journey to Montpellier, had I not just received some information which will make it unavoidably necessary for me to delay our journey for a few days.

I am assured that the President is expected on the 10th or at latest on the 12th of this month in Washington, where He will remain only a few days, & then proceed into Virginia.

As this is the case, I must avail myself of the opportunity of His passage through Washington to deliver to Him a Letter from The Prince Regent in answer to Mr Adams’s recredential, of which I have already been some time in possession, and of which I may otherwise be thought to have deferred the delivery longer than is proper in matters of this kind.

Your letter encourages us to hope that it will be equally convenient to you to receive us in the middle of the present month, and we therefore propose to set out as soon as ever I have had an opportunity of delivering The Prince’s letter, which I hope may be on the 12th or 13th instant; but I shall do myself the pleasure of writing to you again to state the day on which we leave Washington.1 With our united & best respects to Mrs. Madison, I have the honour to be Dear sir Your obedient & truly faithful Servant

(signed) Charles Bagot

Tr (Record Office, Kendal, England: Levens Mss., Sir Charles Bagot Papers).

1The Bagots visited the Madisons at Montpelier between 12 and 20 Oct. 1817. Mary Bagot described her visit: “The house is more comfortable & better furnished than any other I have been in in this horrid country. It is wildly situated—surrounded by forest & with the blue ridge before it. The kindness of the Madisons extreme & he very agreeable, entertaining & well informed. But the dawdle of the life—the beastliness of living made the whole thing dreadful” (Hosford, “Exile in Yankeeland,” Records of the Columbia Historical Society, 51:47). Thomas Digges reported a different impression from Charles Bagot after the visit. Digges wrote to Thomas Jefferson in May 1818 that he had been “peculiarly vexed in Octor. last that I could not by a proferrd seat in Mr. Bagots Barouche to Mr. Madisons & to have partaken of the pleasurable scenes they enjoyd there and of which they yet speak in rapturous delight:—The Minister having concievd a quite different character of The President to what He had found in the lively converse & abilities of The Man. I have enjoyd his Mr. B.’s descriptions of our friend very much” (Robert H. Elias and Eugene D. Finch, eds., Letters of Thomas Attwood Digges [Columbia, S.C., 1982], 615).

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