James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George W. Erving, 5 August 1810

From George W. Erving


Phila Augt. 5. 1810

Dear Sir

In my last letters to Mr Smith I mentioned my intention of returning to the United States; pursuant to which, after about a month passed with Mr Pinkney in London I embarked at Liverpool on the 23d June, and arrived at N. York on the 1st instt. It was my purpose to proceed to Washington without any delay, but I was induced to stay a day at N. York for the pleasure of conversing with Mr Gallatin.

I have in charge two dispatches from Mr Pinkney, which (in case of my going immediately to Washington) he requested me to deliver, or (otherwise) that I woud send by the post; Mr Gallatin being of opinion that this latter mode, will from hence, be perfectly safe, & as I have great need of some short repose, the dispatches in question will be sent forward by this nights mail.

The news of the “Non-intercourse suspension” act1 reached Liverpool on the 6h of June, by the brig “Tamaahmaah,” which had but 22 days passage from New York: the “Venus” frigate had been previously appointed to bring out Mr Morier & he was to have sailed at about the same time with myself.

A few days before leaving England I received a letter of 30 May from Mr Hackley of Cadiz wherin he mentions that the Regency has removed from the “Isla” into that city: this measure, (taken doubtless in consequence of the occupation of “Matagorda” by the french) has an aspect very unfavorable to the affairs of the patriots:2 Mr H also mentions that flour is becoming very scarce. I add nothing on these subjects hoping very soon to have the honor of paying my respects to you in person. Dear Sir with the Most respectful Attachment Your obdt & obliged St

George W Erving

P. S. I met at Liverpool Mr Short, who has taken passage in the “Pacifick” which was to have sailed in about a week after my departure; Mr Short expecting to have a long passage gave into my charge a letter from Doctor Logan to yourself.3 This I will transmit to you from Washington (where I expect to be in about four or five days from this time,) unless you shoud order otherwise.


RC (MHi: Erving Papers).

1Macon’s Bill No. 2.

2In January 1810 the Supreme Junta of Spain, under increasing pressure from French invading forces, had moved from Seville to the Isla de León at the entrance to the port of Cadiz. There the Junta members decided to hand over their responsibility for summoning the national cortes in 1810 to a regency, headed by the bishop of Orense. Despite the capture by the French of Fort Matagorda guarding the approaches to Cadiz on 23 Apr., the regency remained in the city and eventually organized a meeting of the cortes on 24 Sept. (Gabriel H. Lovett, Napoleon and the Birth of Modern Spain [2 vols.; New York, 1965], 1:357–70).

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