Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Carmichael, 28 July 1785

From William Carmichael

Madrid 28th. July 1785


I received on the 26th. Inst. your Letter dated the 22d. June and 14th. July. On the 27th. and Ulto. I had the honor to write you. On the 25th. inst. I received a Letter from his Excellency the Ct. de Florida Blanca of which I inclose you a copy, as a thorough knowledge of the Situation of our Affairs in Barbary may be useful to you in the business you have to transact with these Powers. You will easily judge that I could return no other Answer to the Offer of mediation made by his Catholic Majesty, than that I should transmit a copy of the Ministers Letter immediately to Congress. The Conduct of this court in the whole process of this business has been highly frank and Liberal and I should be happy to have an oppertunity of expressing to the Ct. de Florida Blanca the Sentiments of Mr. Adams and yourself thereon. I also inclose you a copy of a Letter which I received from Mr. Harrison and of another from a Correspondent in Barbary, to which I join a list of the Presents made to the Emperor of Morrocco by the Dutch in the year 1784. You will please to communicate to Mr. Adams these papers. In the 26th. Inst. I received a Letter from him Dated the 3d. of June, which I answer this night referring him to you for Information. About a fortnight ago the Russian Minister presented a memorial to this Court couched in much the Same terms as that from the Emperor mentioned in my Letter of the 27th. June. It appears that the Idea of the exchange proposed by the Latter to the Elector of Bavaria and by the former to the Duke of Deux Pons is relinquished for the moment. It is said the negotiation with the Algerines meets with Obstacles, and circumstances seem to confirm this report. My health has been and is so bad that it has not been in my power to go abroad for near a week. I have no letters from Congress, but have now before me American papers of the 21st. May sent me from the Secretary of States Office. They announce the arrival of Mr. Gardoqui at Philadelphia the 20th. and there are official Letters from him the 22d. of May. He is very much pleased with his reception. If you should find a proper occasion to send me a cypher, might it not be useful to give Mr. Adams a copy of the same? I inclose you a Letter for Dn. Gomez Friero de Andrade a portuguese nobleman of distinction which Letter contains one of Introduction for you and another for the Marquis de la Fayette. I intreat your Civilities to this young gentleman. He was one of those who accompanied the Infanta Donna Maria Victoria married to the Infant Dn. Gabriel. His Address will be discovered at the Portuguese Ambassadors. I recollect nothing at present that can excuse my troubling you with a longer Letter. If any thing occurs worth your Observation I shall not fail to advise you.

I have the honor to be with the highest Respect Your Excys. Most Obedt. & Most Hble. Sert.,

Wm. Carmichael

RC (DLC). Recorded in SJL as received 10 Aug. 1785. Enclosures: (1) Floridablanca to Carmichael, 24 July 1785 (two Tr in DLC, two in MHi: AMT, one in DNA: PCC, No. 87, i, and one in DNA: PCC, No. 107, i all are in Spanish and accompanied by an English translation; an undated translation is printed in Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, i, 634–5), informing him that, on application of the Spanish minister to Morocco, ten American prisoners and their vessel had been freed and that Morocco had made an overture of peace with the United States through the mediation of Spain. (2) Carmichael to Floridablanca, 25 July 1785 (Tr in DLC and another in MHi: AMT), acknowledging the foregoing, assuring him it “is with the highest satisfaction … that I shall immediately transmit to Congress this additional proof of His Majesty’s friendly and beneficent regard to the Interests of the United States in order that they may … avail themselves of a mediation from which they cannot but expect advantageous consequences,” and hinting that, though he had always expected to return to America when he left Spain, this offer of good offices, together with Floridablanca’s continued friendship, would induce him to remain and carry out whatever instructions Congress might give. (3) Richard Harrison to Carmichael, 19 July 1785 (Tr in DNA: PCC, No. 87, i; in Humphreys’ hand, without indication of addressee or writer, and at foot of text: “No. 5.”; Tr in DNA: PCC, No. 107, erroneously identified as a letter from Carmichael to TJ and so printed in Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, i, 632–3), informing him that the captain and crew of the brig Betsy had arrived at Cadiz the day before from Morocco, that they had already “cost me a good deal of money, and must cost me more before they can be shipped off, which will be as soon as possible,” that he was of opinion that the public was justly liable for these charges, but “since the Commissioners are off a different opinion we must see what can be done at home,” that he had that morning waited on the Spanish minister to Morocco “to return him thanks in the best Spanish I could muster,” and that he was alarmed on account of the Algerines. (4) The letter “from a Correspondent in Barbary” probably was that from Louis Goublot to Carmichael, 25 June 1785 (Tr in DNA: PCC, No. 88, ii; No. 87, i; and No. 107, i; and in MHi: AMT—all in French and all save that in MHi have an English translation; Tr in DNA: PCC, No. 88, ii, is designated “No. 3” at head of text; a translation is printed in Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, i, 633–4), informing him that, in consequence of what he had hinted at in his of 10 June, the prisoners had been released to the Spanish minister in Morocco, and explaining that one of the motives of the emperor may have been the expectation that this act of generosity would cause the Americans more earnestly to “seek his friendship, in a manner that will be beneficial to him.” (5) A list of presents given by the States General to the emperor of Morocco in 1784 (Tr in DNA: PCC, No. 87, i, and No. 107, i; both in French, with an English translation; a translation is printed in Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, i, 635–7). (6) Carmichael to TJ and to Lafayette introducing Don Gomez (not found; but see TJ to Carmichael, 18 Aug. 1785). Copies of the first, third, fourth, and fifth enclosures were sent by TJ to Jay in his second letter of 14 Aug. 1785.

On 18 Aug. Carmichael wrote to Adams: “This court appears sincerely disposed to cultivate a good understanding with the United States. Ere this letter will reach you Mr. Jefferson will have communicated to you copies of my last despatches to him, on which I hope to have your excellency’s opinion” (MHi: AMT).

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