James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Jarvis, 19 November 1806

Lisbon 19th: Novr. 1806


The foregoing of the 15th. Ulto: went by the Brig Delight Captn. Peirce via Philada., Since ⟨w⟩hich nothing of any visible importance has taken place as it regard the ⟨ex⟩terior relations of this Kingdom. ⟨W⟩hat effect the events of the present Prussian War will have I will not pretend to say; bu⟨t⟩ as the opinion I have already taken the liberty, on several occasions to offer, is founded on what I suppose to be the Solid ⟨in⟩terest of France & Portugal, fro⟨m⟩ my feeble view of the subject I still remain of the same opi⟨n⟩ion; which hitherto events ha⟨ve⟩ tended to confirm. About ⟨a⟩ fortnight Since five Noble⟨men⟩ of the first families & Several of less Not⟨e⟩ were b⟨a⟩nished to their Country Esta⟨tes⟩ & to the provinces. The real cause is not generally kno⟨wn.⟩ Report however says that it ⟨was⟩ owing to some expressions of disrespect toward the Prince, ⟨in⟩ consequence of some differen⟨ce⟩ which took place between hi⟨m⟩ & the Princess owing to his ⟨ha⟩ving banished a Gentleman of her household, about Si⟨x or⟩ 8 months ago. This it is said ⟨cau⟩sed a coolness between them till the Gentleman was recalled, & did occasion much ⟨c⟩onversation in the City about the time. But whether this was the ⟨r⟩eal cause of their banishment, or ⟨it⟩ was owing to some Court in⟨tr⟩igue, I shall not pretend to determine: but certain it is that ⟨a⟩bout fifteen large & small were ⟨or⟩dered to their Country Estates, or the Provinces about a fortnight ⟨s⟩ince. One would almost suppose ⟨th⟩at there was Something in an European climate which ⟨di⟩sposed the mind & heart to in⟨tr⟩igue & finesse, when so small ⟨a⟩ personage as myself should have ⟨be⟩en subject to so much of it. To ⟨w⟩hich however I have only oppo⟨se⟩d a Sedulous attention to my ⟨bu⟩siness, & a strict adherence to my ⟨du⟩ty as an Officer & a member of Society; conceiving it quite suf⟨f⟩icient to render abortive the ⟨m⟩achinations & Malice of persons ⟨w⟩hose characters ought to ren⟨der⟩ them unworthy of Notice although at times their intrigue⟨s⟩ have assumed the appearance of seeming consequence by involvi⟨ng⟩ in their Vortex persons whose ⟨Sta⟩tion in life & property have giv⟨en⟩ them some consideration in Society.

The discharge by Bir⟨a⟩ beginning from the tempestuo⟨us⟩ness of the Season to bear hea⟨vy⟩ on grain loaded vessels, I hav⟨e⟩ taken the liberty to make the inclosed representation to H⟨is⟩ Excellency Mr d’Araujo on t⟨he⟩ subject, but do not make a⟨ny⟩ very sanguine calculations ⟨of⟩ succeeding as it is the interest ⟨of⟩ all the under health Officers ⟨to⟩ inforce it.

Inclosed is a copy of a letter relative to the death of the Du⟨ke⟩ de Lafoens, & answer given. ⟨He⟩ was a natural Son of Do⟨n⟩ John the fith & was by him ⟨and⟩ his Court publicly acknowl⟨edged⟩ as his Son. His Offices wer⟨e⟩ many but the most distinguished was Generalissimo of the Portuguese land forces. The Conde de Villaverde has also died within ⟨a⟩bout a week. He was Minister of the Interior & supposed to be much in the French interest. It is not known who will ⟨s⟩ucceed him.

The Constitution is ⟨in c⟩omplete order for Sea. Captain Campbell intends to Sail in a few days. Among other articles I have got an Anchor for her. The copy of my letter to the Visconde Anadie for it & his order ⟨ar⟩e inclosed.

You will perceive by several of the letters that I have ⟨S⟩ir latterly assumed in my Official ⟨n⟩otes the title of acting or officiating ⟨C⟩harge d’Affaires in addition to ⟨th⟩at of Consul & sometimes Chargé ⟨d⟩’Affaires. This I have done not from vanity or in compliance w⟨ith⟩ my own inclination, but in compliance with what I concluded was the wish of this Government, from the Secretary of State constantly addressin⟨g⟩ me in this manner. So modes⟨t⟩ am I upon this occasion tha⟨t⟩ I do not pretend to think it ⟨is⟩ owing to any particular mer⟨it⟩ of my own; but I imagine in compliance with the establish⟨ed⟩ Diplomatick etiquette, that ⟨a⟩ Younger Government shall have at the Court of the el⟨der⟩ a person of the same ran⟨k⟩ which the latter Sends to the former; for that address was no⟨t⟩ so particularly used to me ⟨be⟩fore Mr Rademaker went to ⟨the⟩ United States. Even then ⟨I⟩ did not assume it for some ti⟨me⟩ conceiving it incompatib⟨le⟩ with my mercanti⟨le⟩ pursuits & plain manner of living; but finding that our other Consuls who were acting as Charge d’Affaires did not Pretend to alter their Stile of living on that account, (two of which by the bye are more economical than my own) I have also given into it, and hope Sir it will not prove unsatisfactory; having in no instance made use of it but in my Official Correspondence with this Government.

At the dinner annually given by the Spanish Ambassador in honor of the Kings birth day, contrary to what, as well as I recollect, took place the last year, the Prince Regent was given as a toast by the Ambassador after the Nuncio had given the king of Spain. These were the only personages toasted. I did not Know but these were intended as a sort of discountenance to the reports of the intended invasion of this Kingdom by Spain. All the Corps Diplomatick was there except the German Minister, ⟨who⟩ is out of health and the English ⟨and⟩ Swedish Charge d’Affaires. With the most perfect Consideration I have the honor to ⟨be⟩ Sir Yr Mo: Ob: Servt.

Wm. Jarvis

P. S. I had some doubts about g⟨o⟩ing to the Ambassadors dinner ⟨   ⟩ the differences existing between the two Countries but I afterwards ⟨con⟩sidered that it would be improp⟨er⟩ to stay away whilst a Negotiat⟨ion⟩ was depending. I forwarded a ⟨   ⟩ by Brig Rubicon Captn. Knapp via Bos⟨ton⟩ from Mr Erving & another pr Ship Han⟨nah⟩ Captn. Hopkins, both about 20 Sepr. and in⟨clo⟩sed I forward another from the Sam⟨e⟩ Gentleman no other Vessels having Sai⟨led⟩ since.

DNA: RG 59--CD--Consular Despatches, Lisbon.

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