James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert R. Livingston, 31 December 1801

From Robert R. Livingston

Paris 31st. Decr 1801.

Dear Sir

I have so lat[e]ly written to you that I have little to add but what is contained in my letters to you & one to the president which he will communicate to you.1

I enclose a letter which I send by this conveyance to Mr. King2 (this going round by England) which I hope you will approve. This business of Luissania is very disagreeable as far as I can learn to Spain, if it should be equaly so to Britain perhaps it may meet with some obstacles tho I find it a very favorite measure here. Marbois told me yesterday that it was considered as important to have an outlet for their turbulent spirits yet would not explicitly acknowledge that the business had been concluded. The Absence of the minister who is gone to Lyons to meet the Cisalpine deputies puts a stop to all public business. As soon as he returns I shall address notes to him relative to the prizes & the debts—on which subject I have had conferences with the Danish & Sweedish Envoys who are in the same predicament with the US. & who speak very dispairingly of their prospects. As to ourselves I must frankly own to you that we by no means stand as [I] would wish with this government. It has nothing that can be called republican in its form & still less in its administration. The royal governments are in high favor and I am satisfied that the change in the politicks of the united States is not what they would have wished. Mr. Jeffersons speach has been severely commented on by the first Consul & it is proper that you should be informed of the following anecdote, but it is also proper that it should be known only to yourself & the president for you will easily see what use may be made of it in the United States. The national institute informed the first consul of their intention to nominate Mr Jefferson & Mr. Sheridan3 to vacant places in their body. He sent them word that the choice of either would be improper, that they were both Jacobins. And in fact the whole court party voted against him. You may judge from this how little satisfaction I am like to receive from my mission since my character as a republican is so well known. I find that Mr. Murray would have been very agreeable here, & I mention it that you may act as exigencys require without the smallest personal attention to me since I shall feel no reluctance in submitting to any measure that the public interest may demand. I enclose the copy of a note on the subject of the Pegou4 to which the absence of the minister prevents my having an answer. ⟨There are a number⟩ of small sea ⟨ports that have⟩ no consuls & there are many people ready to accept the places & to give the requisite aid to the seamen that may by storms or accidents be driven into them. The Consul genl. thinks that it wd be proper to invest the ministers with powers to fill them & other accidental vacancys.5 I have the honor to be with the highest essteem & most respectful attatchmt Dear Sir Your Most Obt hum: Servt


N B. I beg leave to mention to you Mr. Waldo6 an american who is now here who wishes & would accept the commercial agency at Marseilles if this government should not agree to the establishment of Mr. Catalan. I never was acquainted with him before I came here but Mr. Skipwith & Mr. Sumter have long known him & speak highly of his integrity and qualifications for such an appointment.

Whatever his political sentiments may be or those of his friends they assure me he has too much honor to accept a place under an administration that he could not serve with pleasure & fidelity and they believe from the correctness of his disposition & deportment the public would be well served as well as individuals by this gentleman. You will be applied in his behalf by Messr. Gerry & Lincoln who are well acquainted with him & his connections.7

Index Entries