James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Sylvanus Bourne, 24 December 1805 (Abstract)

From Sylvanus Bourne, 24 December 1805 (Abstract)

§ From Sylvanus Bourne. 24 December 1805, Amsterdam. “The inclosed Gazettes will give you a relation of the very surprising & splendid events which have lately taken place on the Theatre of the War in Germany & which have led to an Armistice that will in all probability be followed by a peace on the continent, leaving Great Britain once more to combat alone with the colossal power of France which is much enhanced by the issue of the late short but brilliant campaign. I am inclined to beleive that the actual position of Great Britain will tend to inspire the Govt. with moderation & produce a relaxation of its high toned pretensions relative to the trade of neutrals & that of course our Commerce will be there by relievd in a considerable degree from those vexations which have of late been so perplexing & injurious to its interests.

“The consequences of the late campaign must be peculiarly important to the future fate of Europe & lead to events which the most sagacious & penetrating mind cannot at that moment in any degree appretiate with certainty. I am yet without the favr. of your reply to my interesting letters of July & August last, although I find by th⟨e⟩; papers that they duly arrived. Cogent reasons Cause me however to indulge the hope of a continuance of your confidence & protection & I have consequently wrote to my friend⟨s⟩; & relations George Salmon & Wm. Taylor Esquires1 of Baltimor⟨e⟩; on the subject of a bond to be given in my behalf agreeably to your late circular & they will have the honor to communicate with you on this subject.

“The inclosed letter for the President of the U. States is relative to a Works [sic] published lately by Mr S Luciu⟨is⟩; Professor of Chemistry at Delft on the subject of a Bathometre or Sonde de mer,2 which with a model thereof I have Sent by this vessell to the President by his des⟨ire⟩; & have addressed the same to care of the Collector at Ba⟨l⟩;timore & hope they may all arrive in safety.”

RC (DNA: RG 59, CD, Amsterdam, vol. 1). 2 pp. For enclosures, see n. 2.

1Irish-born Baltimore merchant George Salmon (d. 1807), a partner in the firm of Woolsey and Salmon, was for several years a judge of the Court of Oyer and Terminer and a justice of the peace for Baltimore County, as well as founding director and first president of the Bank of Baltimore. In 1783 he was involved in a plan to transport British convicts to Maryland. Barnstable, Massachusetts, native William Taylor was a flour merchant and purveyor of general merchandise at Baltimore for over thirty years; he also had a deputy at New Orleans. During the Quasi-War with France, he sold one of his ships to the U.S. Navy for $28,000 (Thomas W. Griffith, Annals of Baltimore [Baltimore, 1833], 64–65, 104; J. Thomas Smith, “The National Bank of Baltimore,” Bankers’ Magazine 52 [1896]: 621; Manual of the First Presbyterian Church … Baltimore [Baltimore, 1877], 16; A. Roger Ekirch, “Great Britain’s Secret Convict Trade to America, 1783–1784,” American Historical Review 89 [1984]: 1285, 1287; Abbot et al., Papers of George Washington: Presidential Series, 7:341 n.; Archives of Maryland, 72:51, 70, 76, 89, 170, 245, 256, 317; Lewis E. Atherton, “John McDonogh—New Orleans Mercantile Capitalist,” Journal of Southern History 7 [1941]: 457 n. 16; G. Terry Sharrer, “The Merchant-Millers: Baltimore’s Flour Milling Industry, 1783–1860,” Agricultural History 56 [1982]: 147; Knox, Naval Documents, Quasi-War, 1:123, 143).

2The enclosures (3 pp.; in English and French; docketed by Jefferson as received 7 Apr. [DLC: Jefferson Papers]) are copies of Bourne to Jefferson, 23 Dec. 1805, covering a letter and publication from Abraham Gerardus van Stipriaan Luiscius, with a model of his bathometer, and reporting on an apparent armistice between Russia, France, and Austria; and Bourne to van Stipriaan Luiscius, 16 Dec. 1805, stating that he had sent the model to the president. Bourne’s letter to Jefferson presumably enclosed van Stipriaan Luiscius to Jefferson, 1 Dec. 1805, enclosing his publication and a model of his device to which Jefferson replied on 3 May 1806, thanking van Stipriaan Luiscius and saying he had sent the treatise and model to the American Philosophical Society (ViW: Tucker-Coleman Collection, Jefferson Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library). The enclosed treatise was Abraham Gerardus van Stipriaan Luiscius’s Description d’une sonde de mer, ou Bathometre, qui pourra servir a sonder toutes les profondeurs des mers … (The Hague, 1805).

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