James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Bowdoin, 7 May 1805

From James Bowdoin

Boston May 7th. 1805.


I have the honour to acknowledge the rect. of your Letter of the 20th. Ultimo with its enclosures viz: The President’s official Letter of introduction to his catholic Majesty dated on the 20th. Ultimo: the note of the marquis de Yrujo & your answer thereto, dated on the 4th. of April last the marquis Semeruelos’s Letter dated Havana the 20th June 1804: Josiah Blakely’s Letters of the 20th. of April & 19th. of may last; extracts of letters from the same dated June 10th. Octo. 20th. & his Letter of the 7th of novr. on the same subject, accompanied with two lists of american vessells captured by privateers under french colours & carried into the island of Cuba: Vincent Gray’s report upon the same subject dated Havana Jan. 14th. 1805. a Copy of your Letter to the Govr. of Cuba dated Apr. 19th. 1805: a Copy of your Letter to G. W. Erving Esqr. dated Jan. 12. 1805: Your Letter to Mess. Willicks & Vanstophorts dated Apr. 22d. last: & also a Cypher for secret correspondence since recd.

As I expect to embark to morrow morning for Spain, & as this will be probably the last Letter, I shall have the honour to write to you from hence prior thereto, permit me to observe to you, that upon my arrival at Madrid, I shall take the earliest opportunity of presenting the Presidents Letter of introduction to his Catholic Majesty, & shall endeavour to inspire his Majesty & Ministers with a just confidence in the pacific & friendly disposition of the Presidt. & Governmt. of the U. S. to wards his Majesty & Governmt., as a preliminary to those representations for the redress of the complaints stated in your instructions, & which may be required from the situation of the late pending negociations between Mr. Munroe & the Spanish Governmt: From some circumstances, wch. have occurred here, I have reason to fear, that Mr. munroe’s negociations have not terminated successfully: the ground of this opinion will be found in the enclosed Letter, which for your satisfaction, I take the Liberty of forwarding to you.1 You may rest assured that every Thing in my power shall be done to promote a good understanding with the spanish Government & to procure that satisfaction, wch. the Governmt. & Citizens of the U. S. have, in many respects, a right to expect. I shall keep you duely informed of my proceedings by every good opportunity, which shall occur. I have the honour to subscribe myself with high consideration & esteem very respectfully, Sir, Your faithful & Obedt. Servant.

James Bowdoin

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, DD, Spain, vol. 9). For enclosure, see n. 1.

1The enclosure (2 pp.) is Ebenezer Preble’s 7 May 1805 letter to Bowdoin, quoting a 1 Feb. 1805 letter from Preble’s brother Henry at Madrid, which stated that Monroe and Pinckney had asked him to stay on as secretary of legation, delaying his departure. Henry feared the negotiation, which he expected to end in ten days, would not be successful, adding that after its termination he would proceed to Washington with dispatches. Ebenezer Preble (1757–1817), the older brother of naval captain Edward Preble, was a prominent Boston merchant, farmer, and horticulturalist (New-York Evening Post, 19 Apr. 1817; Preble, Genealogical Sketch of the First Three Generations of Prebles in America [2003 reprint], 35, 59, 151).

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