James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Sylvanus Bourne, 9 October 1801

From Sylvanus Bourne, 9 October 1801

Consular Office of the US, Amsterdam Octr. 9 1801.


It appears now confirmed that preliminary Articles of peace between England & France were signed on the 2d. Inst at London the Contents are momently expected to be published when I shall not lose A Moment to transmit them to you. Important reflections are awakened by this event which I cordially hope may fix the future peace & happiness of Europe on a permanent base.

In my last letter I took the liberty to mention that a State of peace would by Superceding the necessity of having many Certificates which the State of War requird from our Consular Offices reduce this One to a mere triffle. I am led to believe its income hereafter will not exceed 500 dolls pr Annum. It now remains for the Govt. to decide if the Office here the only one Constituting a representation of the U States either in the Commercial ⟨or⟩ political Departm. is of sufficient importance ⟨to⟩ the publick that the Office should be assured of a moderate support. I had before suggested that the sum of 2000 Dollars should be allowed from ⟨the⟩ public Chest pr annum for that purpose & th⟨e⟩ fees receivd to be credited towards the payt [. . .] but as this would occasion the necessity of return⟨s⟩ periodically made to the Treasury of said Amt ⟨before⟩ the Officer would be entitled to his pay of the ⟨rest⟩ It may be better & less embarrassing to eac⟨h⟩ party that the principle be adopted whic⟨h⟩ is used in regard to some of our Collectors—⟨(that⟩ is to say) that the Consul here be allowed 1000 to 1500 Dolls from the treasury & that ⟨he⟩ depends on what may be recvd in fees fo⟨r the⟩ rest. Certain it is that his situation here e⟨x⟩poses him to many Charges that he cou⟨ld⟩ not be otherways subjected to & equally cer⟨tain⟩ is it that he cannot live with the stric⟨test⟩ œconomy for less than 2000 Dolls pr an⟨num.⟩

I have to claim your indulgence for the trouble I give you herein & have only to request that you would have the goodness to send a few lines (origl & duplts) to care of Mr. Wm. Taylor of Baltimore, informing me if any thing may be expected to be done on the principles of the arrangement here suggested or in any other way for the support of the Consular Establisht. in this Country & you will thereby essentially Oblige Your respectfull & Ob Sert.

S Bourne

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