James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Jarvis, 10 August 1802

From William Jarvis, 10 August 1802

(No. 2)

Lisbon 10 August 1802.


Accompanying this you will receive a duplicate of mine of the 3rd. Inst with part of the documents, which were sent by the Brig Neptune Captn. Coleman bound to Alexandria. As in all probability you must have received the Copies of the letters of an earlier date than the 30th. June I concluded it was unnecessary to Copy those previous to that time, but confined myself to such as I suppos’d that part of my last were not duplicates to. The day I forwarded my last Mr Bulkeley sent me a letter, to your address from Mr Simpson that went inclosed. It was recd. under cover of a letter dated Tangier 28 July of which a Copy is inclosed.

An American Ship arrived here in 12 days passage from Cadiz; having head winds, she was obliged to beat all the way, but did not see any thing that was suspicious. A letter from a private House in Cadiz recd. by the last Post mentions, that the Emperor of Morocco with a view to adjust the existing differences between the U.S. & himself had suspended hostilities aga⟨inst⟩ us for six months. If this was a fact Mr Simp⟨son⟩ I think would have mentioned it; his going from Gibraltar to Tangier in all probability gave rise to it. Another private letter dated the 5 Inst from the same place mentions that the 22 gun ship from Larach had saild, but is silent as to the foregoing report.

On the 4th. I recd. an answer to my Official communication to the Ministe⟨r⟩ who appointed the 8th. for me to wait on him. He received me with politeness. I presented my Commission which the Minister said should be immediately attended to; & then observ’d that his Royal Highness saw with much satisfaction the increaseing Commerce between the two Countries & that he had it in charge from his Royal Highness to assure the President of his Friendly disposition towards the United States. I answered that the Presiden⟨t⟩ was actuated by similar sentiments wi⟨th⟩ those of his Royal Highness, for that I had been instructed to assure his Royal Highness’s Ministers of the satisfaction which the President took in the Friendship & good understanding that had so long existed between the two Countries, & which I should upon all occasions use my utmost endeavours to cultivate & ⟨ex⟩tend. We had some conversation relative to the Quarantine; as on the 4th. an order was recd. by the Health Officers to make Vessels ⟨c⟩omeing from New York lay a few days. I inform’d his Excellency of the Regulations that had been adopted at home, which would prevent Foreign Nations from being in any sort of danger from our Vessels; for if any disorder existed even of a suspicious nature it would be inserted in the Bills of Health of all Vessels comeing from such place, & when the Masters come without Bills of Health it was presumptive evidence that some disorder existed of a contagious nature, but with clear Bills of Health, his Excellency might be assured that no contagious disease existed at the place from ⟨w⟩hich they came, he answered that notwithstanding those orders, the Officers might be induced to grant clear Bills of Health ⟨w⟩hen there was some disorder prevailing. I replied that our Collectors were Men of Reputation who would not risk the loss of Character by doing such a thing, much less the loss of Office which would be the certain consequence. That the disorder that had prevail’d appeared to be an epidemic, being entirely local, it haveing in no instance spread in the Country. That the Cargoes We exported to this Country could not receive it. Of course no danger could arise from that source, & as to the Crews if they should have taken it, there was no doubt but it would break out long before they could get here, but notwithstanding the little risk there would be for this Country in particular, from the nature of our Cargoes; the instructions given to our Collectors, his Excellency might rest assured would be rigidly adhered to, for We had suffered so much ourselves, that no reasoning, however plausible nor any other consideration would induce us to risk the health of other Nations. At takeing leave I requested his Excellency’s permission to address him whenever necessary, which he politely granted. I shall wait a few days & see if any effect is produc’d by what pass’d concerning the quarantine if not I shall address him relative thereto.

Some Misunderstanding has taken place between this Court & Genl. Lannes the French Ambassador; it is said to have arisen from the refusal of the Intendant of Police who is also Comptroller of the Customhouse to let the Genl.’s effects come on shore before the Vessel in which they came was entered, when he first came here, & the like difficulty has in one or two instances taken place since when Goods have come for the Genl., he (the Genl.) haveing declined letting them go to the Customhouse to be inspected, agreeable to the Laws of this Country; in consequence of which some very Warm Language pass’d between the Intendant & the Genl.’s secretary, which the Genl. considered as an insult offered to him, & demanded of the Court the dismission of the Intendant, at the same time alledgeing that the Intendant had used the French who were residents here dureing the war unnecessarily ill; but the Court refused to Comply with his demand, observeing that the Intendant had done no more than his duty; which, in addition to some farther misunderstanding relative to the claims of some French Citizens against this Government, the Genl. about five or six weeks since suspended all communication with this Government unless all his demands were satisfied; this not being done, he yesterday requested passports to quit the Country; which were granted, & he is to set away this afternoon at 4 O’Clock. His determination to leave here I was inform’d of yesterday by the French Consul, with whom I dined in Company, but he did not appear to be willing to enter into any explanation on the subject, but said generally, he had no doubt the difficulty would be amicably adjusted. Another report is that he was likewise dissatisfied with the influence the British Ambassador had at this Cour⟨t⟩ & wanted the Ministers dismiss’d who were the Friends of the English. It is hinted by some that he has taken this measure in hopes to force the Court to acquiesce in his demands & that it is not his real intentions to go farther than the borders of the Kingdom; but this is mere surmise. What the event will be I cannot pretend to predict.

I shall attend to the other business you mentioned the moment I have a little leisure.

The inclosed has this moment come to my hands. With the utmost Respect I am Sir Your most Humble Servant

William Jarvis

11th. The Ambassador absolutely left here yesterday without takeing leave at Court.

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