James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Lee, 8 September 1807

Bordeaux 8th September 1807


A rumour having been current here for some days past ⟨tha⟩t the Emperor had said to Genl. Armstrong that if we let slip this ⟨favo⟩rable opportunity of declaring against England, that he intended ⟨to s⟩hut our Commerce out from all the ports of Europe untill the ⟨con⟩test between France and England should terminate, I thought it ⟨my⟩ duty to state the same to the General, beleiving the report to have ⟨orig⟩inated with some speculator, and well knowing if it reached the U. S. ⟨it⟩ would be magnified by the faction opposed to the Government into ⟨a⟩ menace on the part of this country, which circumstances might make ⟨it ap⟩pear had influenced the Councils of our Country. Annexed I ⟨have⟩ the honor to transmit a Copy of our ministers answer, which ⟨will⟩ also be found interesting on other points.

The troops marching towards Bayonne have just finished ⟨pass⟩ing this City. From two to five thousand have been reviewed every ⟨day⟩ for ten days past, and it is said equal numbers are passing to the ⟨   ⟩ Camp from the side of Montpelier, Toulouse and Auch. It is also ⟨   ⟩ted that the Emperor will be on the confines of Spain about the ⟨   ⟩ of October. The conjectures respecting the destination of this army ⟨are⟩ various. Some say that the object is Portugal, others Gibralter. It is even hinted that the Spanish Government is to be renovated and a new Kingdom of Navarre to be built up. It is most probable that they are destined for Portugal and from thence for Irela⟨nd.⟩ With much respect I have the honor to remain Your most obt. Servt.

Wm Lee

DNA: RG 59—CD—Consular Despatches, Bordeaux.

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