From James Madison
Washington Mar. 10. 1803
The answers from the Govr. & Intendant at N. Orleans to the Spanish Ministers letter were recd. by him yesterday. The Intendant himself states that he had taken his measures, merely on his own judgment, without orders from his Govt. and in opposition to the judgment of the Govr: but it appears that his determination had not been changed by the first interposition of Yrujo. As his second letter written after it was known that the Intendant had proceeded without orders, must have spoken with more energy, it is possible that it may have more effect. Considering however the case in all its aspects, I have thought it proper to call on Yrujo for the peremptory injunctions which he seemed willing to undertake, and am just sending him a note for that purpose, which is approved by my several colleagues. He says he will do every thing that depends on decision; and will even, in a private letter to the Govr. urge him, if the Intendant should be refractory, to ship him off to Spain, which is the Ultima ratio it seems of Spanish Governors agst. Intendants. The despatches of the Marquis will be forwarded under my cover to Claybourne, and will go by an Express who it is hoped will overtake the Mail now on the way.
It appears by a letter of Novr. 24 from Obrien, thro’ Cathalan, that the Dey of Algiers refused the cash payment which had arrived, and insists on the Stores with much irritation at the offer substituted.1 Will you be pleased to say to Mr. Smith whether he is to forward them as soon as possible, as seems now to be indispensable.
With respectful attachment I remain Yrs.
RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President of the U.S.”; endorsed by TJ as received from the State Department on 16 Mch. and so recorded in SJL with notations “N. Orleans. Algiers.”
recd. by him yesterday: Carlos Martínez de Irujo wrote to Madison on 10 Mch. concerning replies he had received to his letters to Manuel de Salcedo, the governor of Louisiana, and Juan Ventura Morales, the intendant at New Orleans. Irujo expressed confidence that Morales had acted on his own authority, without orders from Spain, when he closed the right of deposit at New Orleans and that Salcedo opposed the decision. In his note in reply to Irujo, Madison observed that the season had come for American products to begin moving down the Mississippi River and urged “an instant resort, to such peremptory injunctions as may reclaim the Intendant from his error, and by giving to the violated treaty its due effect, rescue from immediate danger the confidence and good neighbourhood which it is the interest of both nations to maintain.” Madison offered the services of the U.S. government in conveying dispatches from Irujo to Louisiana by land and urged that duplicates be sent by sea. Irujo wrote to Morales and Salcedo on the 11th to say that the right of deposit must either be restored at New Orleans or opened in another location to avoid a confrontation that could cost Spain both Louisiana and the Floridas (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962- , 35 vols., Sec. of State Ser., 1986- , 9 vols., Pres. Ser., 1984- , 7 vols., Ret. Ser., 2009- , 2 vols. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 4:408–10; John Brown to TJ, 26 Nov. 1802; TJ to James Garrard, 18 Jan. 1803).
ultima ratio: that is, the last resort.
under my cover to claybourne: on 11 Mch., the same day that Irujo signed his new dispatches to Morales and Salcedo, Madison forwarded the documents to William C. C. Claiborne in Mississippi Territory with a request that they be given “as quick a conveyance as possible” to New Orleans (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962- , 35 vols., Sec. of State Ser., 1986- , 9 vols., Pres. Ser., 1984- , 7 vols., Ret. Ser., 2009- , 2 vols. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 4:413–14).
Stephen cathalan, Jr., in a letter to Madison of 10 Dec., passed along the news from Richard O’Brien that the dey of algiers, Mustafa Baba, had refused to accept payment in lieu of stores (same, 4:186, 408n).
On 9 Mch., the State Department received from William E. Hulings a copy of an order dated 30 July 1802 from Miguel Cayetano Soler, the Spanish minister of the treasury, to Morales, informing him of the decision to cede Louisiana to France. The intendant was to be ready to transfer the province to whatever commissioners might be authorized to receive it for the Republic of France. Soler indicated that Salcedo would also receive notice of the intended transfer and of the crown’s intention to find new postings elsewhere for soldiers in the colony who wished to remain in Spanish service. TJ later received a copy of the order from William Dunbar (Tr in DLC: TJ Papers, 132:22836, in Spanish, enclosed in Dunbar to TJ, 21 Oct. 1803; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962- , 35 vols., Sec. of State Ser., 1986- , 9 vols., Pres. Ser., 1984- , 7 vols., Ret. Ser., 2009- , 2 vols. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 4:190).
1. MS: “subsituted.”