San Lucar 25th. March 1808
Notwithstanding the advice ⟨of⟩ the very extraordinary change ⟨w⟩hich has recently taken place ⟨i⟩n the fortunes of the Prince of Peace will probably reach you ⟨th⟩rough various other channels ⟨I c⟩ould not deprive myself of ⟨the⟩ opportunity of the Brig Maria, ⟨to⟩ communicate such reports as ⟨ha⟩ve reached here & Cadiz on the ⟨su⟩bject. It is said that about ⟨ei⟩ght days since there was a ⟨ ⟩ Council of State held to ⟨de⟩termine whether the King ⟨ou⟩ght not to quit Madrid & ⟨re⟩tire to Seville on the approach of the French Army. The Coun⟨cil⟩ Generally was in favour of ⟨the⟩ King’s Stay, the Prince of Pea⟨ce⟩ for his going. At length the l⟨atter⟩ accused one of the most deter⟨min⟩ed & influential of the Counci⟨l⟩ who was in favour of the Kin⟨g⟩ remaining, of Treachery, who a⟨n⟩swered that if there was a⟨ny⟩ traitors in the Council it ⟨was⟩ the Prince of Peace himself. The King then took a decid⟨ed⟩ part with those of the Coun⟨cil⟩ in favour of his remaining ⟨&⟩ immediately deprived the Prin⟨ce⟩ of Peace of all his honors ⟨&⟩ employments & banished hi⟨m⟩ to any town of Spain to w⟨hich⟩ he should please to make his residence. Report however says, that afterwards an or⟨der⟩ was issued to confiscate all his property & imprison him, where⟨u⟩pon he attempted to escape with his Brother attended by his ⟨g⟩uards; that a body of the Kings ⟨tr⟩oops were sent after him & ⟨a⟩ contest ensued, in which his ⟨Br⟩other was Killed, 19 of his guards ⟨&⟩ himself wounded & made prisone⟨r⟩ and that he has been confi⟨ne⟩d to a prison. It is beleived ⟨th⟩at the Emperor was not averse ⟨to⟩ his fall.
There is now a body ⟨of⟩ fifty thousand French troops ⟨in⟩ Spain, & it is said that dou⟨b⟩le the number is expected. ⟨It⟩ is supposed that a considerable ⟨bo⟩dy will be Stationed at Madrid. ⟨Th⟩e speculations are various ⟨as⟩ to the actual object of the Emperor, but as they are all unsa⟨tis⟩factory & contradictory, I shall not venture to trouble you ⟨with⟩ them.
I return to my post to morrow.
The Embargo at home will cause grea⟨t⟩ distress in this Peninsul⟨a,⟩ particularly in Portuga⟨l for⟩ Bread Stuffs. With perfect Res⟨pect⟩ I have the honor ⟨to be⟩ Sir Yr Mo: Ob: S⟨ervt.⟩
Accompanying this will go, a pa⟨cket⟩ from the American Consulate ⟨at⟩ Cadiz, in which is inclosed a le⟨tter⟩ from Mr Erving. It is just ⟨re⟩ported that the King has resigned his Cro⟨wn,⟩ that the Prince of Asturias is proclaimed Ki⟨ng.⟩
DNA: RG 59--CD--Consular Despatches, Lisbon.