From Robert R. Livingston
Paris 14th April 1804
The only Subject which engages the public attention Since the date of my last letter1 is the Death of Pichegru who as you will find by the enclosed papers2 contrived to Strangle himself in prison, & the flight of Drake & Smith from their respective missions at Munich & Stuttgard,3 together with further discoveries of their intrigues as these are minutely detailed in the papers I enclose, it will be unnecessary to trouble you with a repetition of them. You will hardly know which is the most to admire, their perfidy, or their folly in betraying themselves: it will be extremely difficult for England to wipe off the disgrace She has incurred by these transactions which are considered here by their warmest friends as too well authenticated to admit of doubt. The King of Sweden has (as I intimated in my last) taken offence at the inroad of the french troops into Baden, & his envoy here has expressed his disapprobation in the answer he gave to Mr Talleyrand’s note, for which reason the note has not been published. From Russia we have heard yet nothing on the Subject. Your messenger with the Stock has not yet arrived,4 tho’ he is impatiently expected, as the house of Hope have their agent here who wishes to make arrangements for5 money of the French Treasury This Government are also anxious to have anticipated the first third of the bills I have delivered, & Shall be very happy when the whole Shall be out of my hands.
I have mentioned to you that we might probably be enabled to form a treaty with Russia for opening the Black Sea to our commerce presuming that you would approve of this, & that powers for the purpose would arrive, I have made the first Step by the enclosed note6—to which I have received the enclosed answer.7
I intended to have pursued the matter thro’ France also, but I think it best to lay a little while upon my oars till I See the State of things, between France & Russia in consequence of the late transaction and the rather as it appears to me that some clouds have arisen at the Porte. But of this I am not quite certain, a few days will determine the further Steps I Shall pursue. Enclosed is a note from the Grand Chancellor of Russia8 in answer to an application of Mr Harris on the Subject of our Seamen at Tripoli, it is probable however that you have before this received it from him—as it is calculated to give a good impression of the light in which our Government Stands with So respectable a power, I have thought it well to communicate it to the Minister, which I have done by the enclosed note;9 I do not expect a great deal from it. I enclose you a note from the Consul of Denmark at Tripoli,10 transmitted to me by Mr Cathalan, by which you will See that Commodore Prebble had received the Instructions I Sent from hence as he was at Malta & has probably taken in consequence the necessary Steps for opening the negotiation in which he will have every possible Support from France. I have the honor to be Sir with great esteem & respect Your most Obt hum: Servt
Robt R Livingston
RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, DD, France, vol. 9); draft (NHi: Livingston Papers); letterbook copy (NHi: Livingston Papers, vol. 1). RC in a clerk’s hand, with postscript and signature by Livingston. Italicized words are those encoded by Livingston’s secretary and decoded here by the editors (for the code, see PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 2:304–5 n.). Letterbook copy lacks postscript. For surviving enclosures, see nn. 2 and 6–10.
1. Livingston to JM, 31 Mar. 1804, PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 6:648–52.
2. Livingston enclosed a pamphlet (4 pp.; in French) reporting the alleged suicide of Pichegru in his Temple prison cell on 6 Apr. 1804. A more detailed report was published in the Moniteur universel, 18 Germinal an XII (8 Apr. 1804).
3. The Moniteur universel, 21 and 23 Germinal an XII (11 and 13 Apr. 1804), published reports regarding Francis Drake and John Spencer Smith, British ministers to Bavaria and Württemberg, respectively, who were accused of plotting with French royalist refugees (see Livingston to JM, 29 Mar. 1804, PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 6:629–30 and n. 1).
4. The stock created in payment for Louisiana was to have been carried to France by Jefferson’s secretary, Lewis Harvie, but was instead brought by navy lieutenant James T. Leonard, who delivered it to Livingston on 25 Apr. 1804 (Winston and Colomb, “How the Louisiana Purchase Was Financed,” La. Historical Quarterly 12 : 198; Malone, Jefferson and His Time description begins Dumas Malone, Jefferson and His Time (6 vols.; Boston, 1948–81). description ends , 4:368).
5. When copying this letter, Livingston’s clerk apparently skipped a line here. The draft and the letterbook copy include “taking up their bills the payment of which on account of the present pressure for” at this point.
6. Livingston enclosed a copy of his 7 Apr. 1804 note (3 pp.) to Pierre d’Oubril, Russian chargé d’affaires at Paris, suggesting a treaty between their two countries that would give each most-favored-nation status and would enlist Russian support with the Ottoman Porte for American access to the Black Sea.
7. Livingston enclosed a copy of d’Oubril’s 1/13 Apr. 1804 reply (1 p.; in French) stating that he was not empowered to enter into such negotiations.
8. Livingston enclosed a copy of Count Aleksandr Romanovich Vorontsov’s 25 Jan. 1804 letter to Levett Harris (1 p.; in French). For a description of the letter, see Harris to JM, 7 Feb. 1804, PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 6:453, 454 n. 2.
9. Livingston enclosed a copy of his note to d’Oubril, 9 Apr. 1804 (1 p.), covering a copy of Vorontsov’s 25 Jan. letter (see n. 8, above). Also filed with the RC are copies of d’Oubril to Livingston, 1/13 Apr. 1804 (1 p.; in French), acknowledging Livingston’s 9 Apr. note, and Livingston to Talleyrand, 14 Apr. 1804 (2 pp.), enclosing a copy of Vorontsov’s letter and noting that he was doing so in view of Napoleon’s earlier interest in interceding with the pasha of Tripoli on behalf of the American prisoners.
10. The enclosure (1 p.; in French; docketed by Wagner) is an extract from a 29 Feb. 1804 letter of Nicolai C. Nissen. Cathalan had enclosed an English translation of the extract in his 28 Mar. 1804 dispatch to JM (PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 6:627, 628 n. 5).
12. Postscript in the draft reads: “I enclose a Note of Mr. Tallerands in answer to mine by which you will see that he had in consequence of my conversations with him on that subject applied for the firman of the port previous to my last note on the subject.”