James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Mitchell, 25 June 1803

From John Mitchell, 25 June 1803

Havre 25 June 1803


I had the honor of writeing you per mr. P. A. Jay to whom I deliverd by order of our Ministers two Packets addressed to you the Winds haveing Continued long to the west ward no Vessill could sail for America since Capn. King who left this the 14h. inst charged with Duplicate dispatches. Mr Jay as I advised is onboard the Ship Oliver Elsworth Capn. Henry of & for New York and left this the 23d. inst. per this Occasion* I send you third Copy and which came to hand since my last.

This Port continues to be guarded by British frigats. One vessell only a Dane has Arrived since the 13 inst. when Capn. Bry⟨an⟩ in the Ship Hope of NYork last from Falmouth Arrived. She was the sixth American vess⟨ell⟩ since the 24 of May that this Port has had but little of the Commerce of the U.S.A. One or more Vessells destined for this from the U.S. have been sent into England. ⟨The⟩ reason I have not heard but from that side you no doubt will receive informa⟨tion.⟩

At this Port there is no Ship of War building tho some flat bottomd boats ⟨are⟩ in Construction at Rouen. More, the Ministe⟨r⟩ of Marine was here a few Days since. He sta⟨yed⟩ only about 40 hours & went for Dieppe. Since he left this, all vessells from 5 to 100 Tons have been taken into requisition for what purpose I can’t say as all remain idle.

Permitt me now to speak of my self. Since I had this Pleasure Mr. Barnet writes Me from Paris the 19th. inst. that He had received from You a Commission for the Commercial Agency at this Place, and ads that he fears you may have filled the Appointment for Antwerp. When Mr. Barnet wrote me from that, & in consequence of that Letter our Minister directed my Commission to be made for this I clearly understood that it was on Condition of His being Confirmed for Antwerp only that I could be Confirmed here, and on no Condition was Mr. Barnet to loose an Appointment to make room for Me. I Considerd it as an Act of favor to Me. He I believe not only wished to oblige Me but Concieved he came into the views of Our Ministers and in his last Letters He so expresses himself, yet is fearfull tha⟨t⟩ his Conduct may not meet the aproba⟨tion⟩ of our Government, or that my Letters d⟨id⟩ not clearly state the Business. I belie⟨ve⟩ they did, for ’tho in Consequence of my being established here, I long since did request the Appointment, I should be far from the desire of holding it to the Injury of Mr. Barnet. The emoluments ⟨may⟩ be an Object, that taken as a Considerat⟨ion⟩ Antwerp is Preferable to this. I thou⟨ght it⟩ a duty I owe Mr. Barnet thus to explai⟨n⟩ & by no means let Him suffer as he fea⟨rs⟩ in your good Opinion in Consequence of Consenting to My Proposal of His Stay⟨ing⟩ at Antwerp. How far such an Arrangement may prove agreeable to our Government, I wait to hear, and with perfect respect Am Sir, Your very Obed. Servt.

John Mitchell

* per Charleston Packet Cap Silliman of & for Philadelpa.

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