James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Leonard, 30 December 1808

Barcelona Decr: 30th. 1808.


The preceding is Copy of what I had ⟨the⟩ honor of writing you on 6 Ulto: by a Cartel that went from this place to Marseilles. The political situation of this Country is such, as to exclude the p⟨ros⟩pect of any commercial operation for some time to come. We were a long ⟨time⟩ in fear that an Insurrection would take place in this City, as happened in the Provinces & nearly all the Towns in Spain, but the appearance of su⟨ch⟩ an event is now at an end, as General St. Cyr with an Army of twenty Thousand men, have join’d the forces in this place.

Dreading that in case of an Insurrection many enormities would be committed by the mob, & there ⟨would be⟩ no possible means of leaving this City by Land, as the Communication ⟨would be⟩ cut off, I purchased a Boat, which I Kept ready for the purpose of escap⟨ing⟩ from the City by Sea in case of such a disaster, with my Family, Some American Gentlemen & other Friends, but as this event has never taken p⟨lace,⟩ I have not made use of her & she has never left this place & from presen⟨t⟩ Appearances there will be no necessity to have recourse to said premed⟨itated⟩ alternative. Had I been forced to have made use of this means of escaping the scene & danger of an Insurrection, I contemplated furnishing said boat (which I called the Recourse) with two Documents (I now send you Copie⟨s⟩ Nos. 1 & 2.) ⟨which would ha⟩ve been made use of to serve as a pass in case of meeting any Vessels at ⟨Sea &⟩ which I sketched out for that purpose, but as I before mention to you, ⟨the oc⟩casion did not offer to use them & I now destroy them. I am thus ⟨parti⟩cular in stating these circumstances to you, it having been insinuated ⟨to me⟩ that Mr. Andw. Thorndike & one Wm: Goodwin (two Americans ⟨whom I⟩ have had occasion to mention to you before) who have set up an ⟨establi⟩shment in opposition to me, & are making use of every base means & intrig⟨ue to inj⟩ure me thinking by Such measures to benefit themselves) had by illicit ⟨means⟩ taken a copy of one of the said Documents & sent it on to be presented ⟨to you⟩, with what intent I know not, but if they have done so I must nat⟨urally⟩ Suppose it is with a design to do me some underhanded injury by ⟨false⟩ representations, as I cannot consider that I can be censur’d or liable to ⟨re⟩proach as respects my conduct in this case, or do I believe in any ⟨other⟩ either in my Consular or private Character, being well assur’d that on a ⟨fair i⟩nvestigation of my conduct, it will appear that I have not alone com⟨plied⟩ with obligations as respects my consular Character, the duties of which I trust ⟨it wil⟩l be consider’d I am fully competent to, but that I have availed myself ⟨in culti⟩ivating all occasions that have offer’d, to benefit my Countrymen & Country ⟨by⟩ my residence in this place, & I feel confident that the unfounded malicious ⟨represent⟩ation of my Enemies, devised for the sole motive of injuring me thinking ⟨thereby⟩ to benefit themselves will have no effect with the Executive of the U S ⟨in lesse⟩ning the trust & confidence which is reposed in me as Consul in this place Assuring you that I shall continue to discharge my obligations with the rectitude & honor which hitherto I have never deviated from, I take the li⟨berty⟩ further to observe that said Thorndike & Goodwin, have by a breach of confid⟨ence⟩ & trust, endeavour’d to defraud me of a considerable Property, for whic⟨h⟩ Conduct I brought an Action at Law against them in the Tribunal of Commerce in this place & the Sentences have been given against them for t⟨he⟩ Same. Copies of the Sentences I now send you, Nos: 3, 4 & 5. The Vessels called the Patty & Ademant mention’d in the Sentences Nos. 3 & 4: are the sa⟨me⟩ that Thorndike & Goodwin, presumed to protest against me in the month of Septemr. 1807, for not acknowledging that they were consign’d to them agre⟨eably⟩ to their pretentions & contrary to the truth. Copies of said Protests with my Replies I did myself the honor to send you at the time. By these Sentences is proved judicially the truth of what I there alledge. I have the honor to be Sir, with great Considera⟨tion⟩ Your most obt. Servt:

J Leonard

I have great reason to beleive that said Goodwin who is at Tarragona has for a long time past intercepted & suppressed my Letters, particularly my dispatches to Government, as a Similar Packet t⟨o⟩ this has been lately ⟨re⟩turned to me from his hands broken open.

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

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