James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Jarvis, 29 November 1807

Lisbon 29 Nov 1807. 9 oClock Morng.


At the moment I am writing the Portugueze Squadron consisting of 8 line of battle Ships 2 frigates & 4 Smaller vessels are under weigh. The Prince Regent & the whole Royal family is embarked; the Duke of Cardenal first Prince of the blood, the ⟨   ⟩ ional Anadie & Mr. d’Araujo the Minister of Marine & Foreign Affairs, the Marquis of Pombal & several other Nobility with a number of Officers of Government, Servants &c. Few or no Soldiers except the Marine Corps have embarked. The preparations for embarkation began the 24th. since which they have worked night & ⟨d⟩ay or rather since the 25th. to ⟨ge⟩t on board; & every thing which ⟨r⟩elated to the embarkation has been in great confusion. Appearances seem to indicate that the Government was ta⟨ken⟩ by surprise. Not even salted provisions for the Ships use ⟨were⟩ on board; but little Ship ⟨   ⟩ was prepared, so that they ha⟨ve⟩ been obliged to purchase fr⟨esh⟩ & put on board instead of ⟨   ⟩. The Ships have gone away ve⟨ry⟩ short of Salt provisions & th⟨e⟩ bulk of them not half ma⟨n⟩ned. The Prince as well as th⟨e⟩ Nobility have had only tim⟨e⟩ to take their most valuabl⟨e⟩ movable effects, leaving al⟨l⟩ their fortunes behind. On the 22nd: Notice was received by t⟨he⟩ Prince that the French Arm⟨y⟩ was about entering this King⟨dom.⟩ This caused him very consi⟨der⟩able alarm & a general Sti⟨r at⟩ the Palace. The 24th. a British frigate entered as a flag of truce & the same day a ⟨   ⟩ report reached the public of his intentions to embark. That night a grand Counci⟨l⟩ of State was held & the next d⟨ay⟩ an order was received at the Arsenal to embark all the Provisions & to prepare the Sh⟨ips⟩ immediately for Sea. They al⟨so⟩ that day began to embark the Prince’s effects, but the Ministers & Nobility did not begin to pack up till the 25th. & 26th. The first of these days the flag of truce went out. Whether this sudden resolution was owing to the Marching of the French Army or to the dispatches brought by the frigate, is not known, but probably to both. There are now several ⟨Eng⟩lish line of battle Ships in the offing who it is supposed will accompany the Prince to the Brazils. Till however the inclosed proclamation (translated in haste) was published yesterday, & it was understood that the Cannon in several forts were spiked & the gunpowder thrown into the River, it was not generally beleived that the Prince would go: and untill the Ships were under weigh many well informed people beleived that he would remain. It is supposed that the value of the Diamonds taken with the Prince is about an hundred Million of dollars, & that he took thirty Millions of dollars in specie Plate &⟨c⟩ It is only a fortnight to day since the Marquis of ⟨   ⟩aloa went to France o⟨n⟩ an embassy, with Diamond⟨s⟩ to upwards of a million of dollars as a present to the Emperor.

The advanced gua⟨rd⟩ of the French Army are expected here to night or to morrow.

This will be accompanied by a letter from Mr Erving a copy of the declaration of Blockade & t⟨he⟩ answer, with the Proclamation as before observed. With perfect Respec⟨t⟩ I have the honor t⟨o be⟩ Sir Yr Mo: Ob: Serv

William Jarv⟨is⟩

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

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