James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Jarvis, 2 February 1808

Lisbon 2nd. Feby. 1808


Captn Baty being detained in consequence of some irregularity in the passports of one of his passengers, which I have this moment, (at 9 p. m.) arranged, affords me the opportunity to acquaint you by him, that General Junot, yesterday formally took possession of the Government, of Portugal in the name of the Emperor, that he is appointed Governor General & Commander in Chief of all Portugal, that a new Government has been organised in which there is in every department one Frenchman & one Portugueze, that the Regency has been dissolved & the Family of Braganza declared to have forfeited all right to the Crown of Portugal and the French Arms have replaced those the late Royal family, all which has been affected without the least tumult. Inclosed is the declaration published on the occasion. Respectfully

W. Jarvis

Dup: P. S. to letter of the 29th. Jany

From the present appearances of European affairs & of Portugal in particular, I am persuaded that the Commerce of the United States to this Country will be daily lessening. France can & doubtless will supply the wants of Portugal with grain, which now ⟨e⟩mploys by much the largest part ⟨o⟩f the capital of our Citizens engaged in the Commerce between the two Countries. The demand also of Portugal for bread will daily be lessening from the great number of Merchants & Arti⟨s⟩ans which are likely to emigrate to the Brazils and from the encouragement which will doubtless be given ⟨to⟩ cultivate grain instead of the vine, ⟨to⟩ open another channel for the vent ⟨of⟩ French Wines. Necessity too will ⟨o⟩blige those who remain to consume the smallest possible quantity which will serve for human ⟨su⟩bsistence, for the Source from whence Portugal drew her riches being now ⟨c⟩ut off, & she having but few or ⟨n⟩o internal resources, she will not have the means of paying for more ⟨fo⟩reign provisions & manufactures than are indispensibly necessary for he⟨r⟩ consumption, if so much. The⟨se⟩ considerations, with that of the prop⟨erty⟩ which my industry & close appl⟨i⟩cation to business have enabled me to gain, not being adequate to ma⟨in⟩tain me without business, ma⟨kes⟩ me prefer a Consulate in the Br⟨azils⟩ to my present situation. The pla⟨ces⟩ which offer the greatest Commer⟨cial⟩ advantages are Rio Janiero, Ba⟨hia⟩ de St. Salvador, Pernambuco, ⟨   ⟩ragnon, Para & Espiritos dos Sa⟨ntos.⟩ As the President may deem the Country of sufficient importa⟨nce⟩ to have a Commission’d Char⟨ge⟩ d’Affaires, a Man of considera⟨ble⟩ talents, of an agreeable addr⟨ess⟩ who will not be personally e⟨nga⟩ged in Commerce, on whom Govmt. may also think it advi⟨sa⟩ble to confer the title of Con⟨sul⟩ General and who must ma⟨ke⟩ Rio Janiero his place of ⟨residence⟩ as the Seat of Government, ⟨I⟩ shall give up all thoughts ⟨of that⟩ port & confine my solicitatio⟨n par⟩ticularly to St. Salvador, in ⟨   ⟩ I beleive its particular name at full length is Bahia de St. Salvador. ⟨I⟩n soliciting this office, I shall not ven⟨t⟩ure to urge in my behalf the success ⟨w⟩hich may have followed my Official ⟨ap⟩plications here, although perhaps ⟨n⟩ot inferior to what was experienced by ⟨the⟩ two last Ministers at this Court ⟨un⟩der the late Presidents, as I am sensi⟨ble⟩ that it has been principally ow⟨in⟩g to the influence of the Presidents ⟨wi⟩se & steady administration; and ⟨ha⟩d it been more personal I can have ⟨no⟩ other claim to merit than that of ⟨ha⟩ving done my duty. It may not ⟨ho⟩wever be amiss here to observe ⟨tha⟩t what has been effected through my ⟨ins⟩trumentality, has been accomplished ⟨by⟩ fair & direct representation; in which ⟨   ⟩ no other, perhaps I may be allowed ⟨the⟩ merit of having been faithful ⟨to⟩ my trust as a Public Officer; of ⟨ha⟩ving a desire to act in correspond⟨enc⟩e with the views of Government ⟨and⟩ having done all in my power ⟨to⟩ promote the interests of my ⟨Co⟩untry & Countrymen: and I think ⟨tha⟩t I can with propriety add that ⟨my⟩ conduct as a man has been as ⟨cor⟩rect, Moral & honorable as com⟨mo⟩nly falls to the share of human nature. I think too I may with justice say that from the civi⟨lity⟩ I have always experienced from the late Ministry, I presume ⟨my⟩ appointment would be perfec⟨tly⟩ satisfactory to His Royal Highn⟨ess’⟩ Government. Should any doub⟨ts⟩ be entertained as to the propri⟨ety⟩ of an immediate appointme⟨nt⟩ of Officers to that Country, fr⟨om⟩ a supposition of the return ⟨of⟩ the Prince Regent or for wan⟨t of⟩ due Official notice, and the ⟨Pre⟩sident does not disapprove ⟨of⟩ my application, I hope Govern⟨ment⟩ will do me the honor to re⟨mem⟩ber me when those doubts a⟨re⟩ cleared away. Respectfully

Wm. Jarvis

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

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