James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Isaac Cox Barnet, 19 June 1803 (Abstract)

§ From Isaac Cox Barnet

19 June 1803, Paris. Acknowledges receipt of JM’s letter of 9 Apr.1 and his commission as commercial agent at Le Havre, which he accepts “with gratitude.” Proposes to delegate his present powers to John Mitchell; will leave for his post as soon as he receives his exequatur. Believes Mitchell is “the most suitable person” to continue the duties, since he “now holds the office under a temporary appointment sanctioned” by Livingston. Barnet observes, however, that the statement he made in his letter of 1 May2 of Mitchell’s “being appointed by our Envoys” was communicated to Barnet “prematurely and incorrectly by one of his friends here.” “However friendly disposed” he is to Mitchell, “any acquiescence to his views was founded entirely upon the idea of his being equally agreeable to our Government,”3 an idea taken “from the erroneous information above mentioned,” which coincided with Monroe’s arrival and Skipwith’s knowledge of Barnet’s “permanent Commission for Antwerp.” Believes his “first election was weakened only on account of the motives” communicated in his letters of March,4 which were received long after the date of his Le Havre commission. “I could not expect to accommodate the will of the President to my personal convenience—nor change a destination founded, perhaps upon the opinion … of my being ’more useful to my Country’ at Havre than at Antwerp.” Hopes his views have not been communicated “under a different light.” “My appointment to the commission here, perfectly reconciles the object of this explanation, with the natural desire of furthering my own interest, and … replaces me in the position which dictated my Letter of the 24th. January.”5 Considers his “future permanent establishment at Havre, as under favourable auspices.” Encloses a copy of a commercial circular.6 In a postscript refers JM to his letter of 13 June about the ship Mac.7

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