James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Armistead Burwell, 17 February 1809

february 17 1809.

Dr. Sir,

It is said that Mr. Hull is to be appointed secretary of War; whether this is true, I know not. For myself, I am so entirely unacquainted with this Gentleman that I could not if required give any opinion, nor shall I be understood as giving one in what I now write.

But I should be wanting in the respect due you if I did not inform you that I have heard very strong objections from persons whose standing & regard for your welfare are entitled to the greatest consideration. Those objections have been expressed in terms which indicate a belief of his incapacity & equivocal character. 1st he is deeply interested in the Yazoo claim. 2d. His character was seriously impeach’d before the Senate, & tho he was confirmed, it was supposed more owing to the dubious evidence with which the charges were sustained than a conviction of his entire innocence. 3d. He was said in the senate by Mr. Adams to be too fond of speculation. This is the substance of what I have heard stated by persons who will have a vote in confirming the App’tn, & who are I believe solicitous upon this subject purely out of regard to yourself. You perhaps have not understood these things, & they are now mention’d that you may use them in the way you think most proper. I feel that I have undertaken a delicate perhaps an unjustifiable office. My apology I beg you to admit, in the purity of the Motive, & Your friend

W A Burwell

DLC: Papers of James Madison.

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