From Rufus King
London Mar. 17. 1803
War seems more and more probable, indeed it appears to me inevitable: Holland will be involved, and Spain and Portugal must obey the commands of France. The day after the Kings Message to Parliament was communicated to the French Government, Bonaparte delivered to Lord Whitworth a paper (a copy of which I have seen) stating:
The greatest activity continues to prevail in the Military and Naval Departments: it is understood that the Squadrons in the West and East Indies, and in the Mediterranean will not immediately require re-inforcement, and that a respectable Fleet will soon appear in the Channel and on the Coast of Ireland. The regular army on foot in Great Britain (exclusive of the forces in Ireland, Egypt, Malta, Gibraltar and the Colonies) consists of 27.000 infantry, and 12,000 Cavalry, and will be reinforced immediately by 37,000 of the Militia which have been called out.
I don’t hear of Mr. Monroe’s arrival, tho’ I learn from Mr. Livingston that he is daily expected in France. Mr. Merry is preparing to embark for the United States, and is pressed by his Government to be ready to leave England in the first Week of April. With perfect Respect & Esteem I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient & humble servt.