James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Jarvis, 2 October 1807

Lisbon 2 Octr. 1807


The confusion exhibited in this place ⟨increa⟩ses every day & which is by no means lessened by the uncertainty that every body is in as to the intentions of the Prince Regent. Some beleive he will go, others are as fully persuaded that he will remain & take his chance. The latter I imagine is the opinion of the French Legation. I very much doubt whether the Prince is determined in his mind what to do. Sometimes he concludes to depar⟨t⟩ for the Brazils, at other times h⟨is⟩ local & natural attachment to the Land of his nativity & of his ancestors, aided by his hopes of some sort of an adjustment prevail. In the mean time the repair & preparation of his vessels of War continue, & within five days two others are began upon. As soon as they are compleated they drop down to Belle⟨m⟩ where they are moored; and the impressments still go on to man them. A frigate sailed the other day with sealed orders. It is beleived that she has gone to the Brazils & that much money was put on board of her & most of the public Diamonds. It is supposed that she has gone to the Brazils. One or two who pretend to know whisper about that the gold & diamonds were put on board by night with the greatest secrecy; but I take this to be all conjecture. The french Govmt. hav⟨ing⟩ peremptorily demanded that the persons of the British subjects i⟨n⟩ this Kingdom should be siesed ⟨&⟩ that their property should be confiscated, & that the ports of this Kingdom be shut against ⟨all⟩ British trade whatever, & ⟨made⟩ these requisitions an ultimat⟨um⟩ which not being complied wi⟨th⟩ the French Charge left here ye⟨ster⟩day in the Afternoon, the Secreta⟨ry⟩ of Legation leaves here to-morr⟨ow⟩ & the Spanish Ambassador & family leave here on Saturday with ⟨the⟩ French Consul. To the original d⟨emands⟩ I understand that this Govmt off⟨ered⟩ to shut its ports, to make an est⟨imate⟩ of the British property here & to g⟨ive⟩ the French a sum equal to i⟨t⟩ out of the Portugueze ⟨trea⟩sury, but absolutely refused to s⟨ieze⟩ their persons or property. This ⟨would⟩ by no means satisfy the Emp⟨eror.⟩ The English on their part have offered to let this Country rem⟨ain⟩ neuter if the Treaty of Badajos ⟨is⟩ fulfilled, & have even gone fur⟨ther:⟩ they would consent that all their vessels of War should ⟨be⟩ excluded as well as their Merchantmen provided their subjects were allowed quietly to embark with their effects & that a French Army was not sent here This proposal has likewise been rejected by the French Cabinet. Some say that if the ports were shut & a seizure of persons & effects were made that no soldiers would be sent, others that an army will a⟨t⟩ all events be sent. Mr. Gambier the British Consul General two days ago gave official Notice to the factory to depart. His words were these "Be assured there is no hope for us, on the contrary it is most urgently recommended that we should depart, both persons & property with all possible speed." The Convoy for England is to sail the 12th. in which nearly the whole of the English will go, and as muc⟨h⟩ of their property is embarking as possible. Part of the Cadiz fleet is daily looked for. The 16th. Ulto. Gen Junot was at Bayonne & his army not in motion. With entire Respect I have the honor to be

Wm. Jar⟨vis⟩

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

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