James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Sylvanus Bourne, 2 July 1803

From Sylvanus Bourne, 2 July 1803

Baltimore July 2d. 1803


The late agitated & unsettled position of the Affairs of Europe has caused me to defer my return there, till thing⟨s⟩ should assume a more fixed & decided character.

It appears now by accounts meriting confidence⟨ and ⟩ which are just received that War between France & England was renewed on the 16th. Ulto. an event which must materially affect the Interests of our Commerce in that quarter of the world & nothwithstanding that respect which GB. avows toward the Neutrality of Holland Spain &c. I doubt the possibility of its being carried into effect as the connection of those Countries with France must inevitably draw them into the Contest & to a participation of its Consequences

The experience of the late War in Europe tended to evince the importance of the Port of Emden in Prussia to the trade of the U. S. with Holland as the nearest point of communicati⟨on⟩ therewith by the Inland navigation, a channel which ⟨is⟩ entirely free from any malice by the belligerent Powe⟨rs.⟩ I should therefore deem it essential to the interests of ou⟨r⟩ trade, in order to meet the event of a blockade of ⟨the⟩ Ports of Holland that a commercial Agent be ⟨named⟩ for Emden to attend the various concerns of our ⟨na⟩vigation to that Port, but as it will be an of ⟨fice⟩ of uncertain tenure & temporary duration, it may ⟨not⟩ claim the attention of any Citizen to go there express⟨ly⟩ from the U States, & I woud beg leave to mention ⟨to⟩ you Mr. P J Abegg an Inhabitant of that ⟨Port⟩ as one meriting confidence from the best infor⟨mation⟩ I have of his Character. A material advanta⟨ge⟩ among others of such an agency, will be derived ⟨from⟩ the Case of drawback on Landing Certificates ⟨(&a)⟩ as the mode heretofore practised in that regard ⟨by⟩ the Authority of the Country was tedious volum⟨inous⟩ & much more expensive than at the Consular Off⟨ice.⟩ Should the Supreme Executive think fit to make the appointment mentioned I can take on the Commn. with me. I expect to be here yet for a time & it may be in the interim that some object may occur from the Change lately taken place in Europe meeting the ⟨aims⟩ I suggested to you sometime since in regard to a temporary agency or Commission in course of the publick service as it will be immaterial to me whether I return direct or via France or England or other neighbouring part of Europe. Waiting the favr. of your reply hereto I have the honor to be With great Respect Your Ob Servt.

S. Bourne

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