James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Keteltas, 9 March 1812

From William Keteltas

New York 9h March 1812


I take the Earliest Opportunity to Communicate to the President the following Extract of a letter received this evening from a Gentleman a Native of this City a Man of sence and Observation Who has resided Many Years in England lately returned to this City by the way of Canada from England. The object of My Mission to Quebeck was to deliver to the Goverment of America to Mr Provost,1 dispat: from the Brittish Goverment to Mr Foster the Brittish Minister Authorizing him to Conclude a peace with America and in the Most favourable terms, And the Orders in Council by the Prince Regent will be Revoked, and a General Pacification will Speedily take place. I hope to see You this Morning When it will lay in My power to particularize More fully on the Subject. I shall have An interview with My friend in the Morning Whatever is Communicated relative too, or Connected with the Above Extract I shall loose No time to faithfully transmit the same to Your Excellency, Your Excellency is the best Judge in what light to Consider this Extract Given from the Original, Verbatim ad literatum. I have done My duty to My Country and hope this Communication will be so Considered. The Presidents Most Obdt. humble Servt

Wm Keteltas


1Sir George Prevost (1767–1816) had been born in New Jersey to a French-speaking Swiss Protestant family, and his father had fought with the British forces at Quebec during the Seven Years’ War. After military and administrative service in the West Indies during the 1790s and the first decade of the nineteenth century, Prevost was appointed lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia in 1808, and in 1811 he replaced Sir James Craig as lieutenant governor of Lower Canada. Promoted to lieutenant-general, he also served as governor-in-chief of British North America and commander of the British forces in North America. Prevost subsequently played a major role in organizing the defense of British North America during the War of 1812, and he eventually took the offensive against the U.S. when he invaded upstate New York in September 1814, only to withdraw after the land and naval forces under his command suffered reverses at Plattsburgh and on Lake Champlain. He was recalled to London in March 1815 to defend his conduct in the Plattsburgh campaign, but he died before he had the opportunity to vindicate himself before a court-martial (Halpenny, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 5:693–98).

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