James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Leander Cathcart, 3 January 1808

Madeira Jany. 3d: 1808.


By the Brig Apollo Capt ⟨G⟩oldsbury who sail’d on the 24th: Ulto. I had ⟨on⟩ly time to inform you that Sir Saml. Hood ⟨w⟩ith four Sail of the Line, five Frigates & a ⟨n⟩umber of Transports with General Berresford ⟨& f⟩our thousand Troops on board had just anchor’d ⟨w⟩ithin two Cables length of the fortifications of ⟨th⟩is City Some of whom had already dropped their ⟨S⟩tern Anchors & had springs upon their Cables ⟨f⟩lat bottom’d Boats out & apparently making ⟨ev⟩ery preparation to land their Troops in case ⟨of⟩ resistance. Three British officers had come ⟨on⟩ Shore & were at that moment at the Govern⟨or’⟩s who had called a Council of War, and as the ⟨Lo⟩ndon, ninety, one of the Ships that accomp⟨a⟩nied the Prince of Brazils from Lisbon, touched ⟨he⟩re on the 11th: Ulto: gave us information of his ⟨h⟩aving abdicated the Throne of his Ancestors, it is the general opinion that no hostilities will take place, that the Troops would be landed & be permitted to take possession of the Fortif⟨i⟩cations of the Island, but whether the Britis⟨h⟩ intended holding the Island in deposit for the Crown of Portugal or convert it into a British Colony was not then known. I confir⟨m⟩ the contents of the preceeding & have the honou⟨r⟩ to inform you that this Island was taken possession of by the British with the greatest tranquility & good order & that on the 1st: of January 1808 the Council & heads of depa⟨r⟩tments took an oath of allegiance to His Britannic Majesty. Enclosed is a Copy of the Capitulation.

The Squadron still remains here & has not landed above two Thousand Troops. The remainder it is Supposed are destined to tak⟨e⟩ possession of the Western Islands or Azores. This Port has been embargoed ever Since the arrival of the British Forces but the Apollo was blown off in a gale of Wind Consequently if she arrives in any regular time you will ⟨h⟩ave early information of the Changes which ⟨ha⟩ve taken place in this Island. This moment I have received the enclosed from the ⟨G⟩overnors Secretary, which with my answer ⟨I⟩ transmit for your information. I request ⟨y⟩ou Sir to have the goodness to order a new ⟨C⟩ommission to be Sent to me as Soon as possible ⟨&⟩ that a duplicate thereof may be Sent to our Minister at London in order that my Exequator may be expedited as Soon as possible. I have the honour to continue with the most respectful ⟨E⟩steem Sir Your obedt: Servant

James Leander Cathcart

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

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