James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Jarvis, 4 February 1809

Lisbon 4th. Feby. 1809


The inclosed of the 23rd. Decr. is a copy of the last letter I had the honor to address to you via Falmouth to the care of R. W. Fox Esqr. and I shall now take the liberty to add some remarks to the Commercial observations in it, which I perceive that I omitted. I was not sufficiently explicit as to the price of Cod-fish in Cadiz; six dollars P quintal being the price by small parcels after paying the duty. In this place the best Newfoundland fish, which is preferred to the fish of the United States, has been sold at $4 P quintal of 132Ct. delivered on board the vessels, and the most that has been offered for a Cargo of good ⟨pipe⟩ Staves that have been laying in Lisbon sixteen months is $75 P 1000 free of the duty of 31 %p% to the purchaser, ie the holder paying the duty.

From hence, & the observations in my last, may be inferred, the great losses our Merchants must have sustained in this Peninsula, had not the wisdom ⟨o⟩f Congress continued the embargo; to which may be added the much greater evils ⟨w⟩hich would doubtless have arisen ⟨fr⟩om the turn that the affairs of the ⟨Pe⟩ninsula have taken; for as there is ⟨ev⟩ery appearance of the British Shortly ⟨be⟩ing expelled, our vessels, on leaving ⟨the⟩ Ports, must have fallen a prey to the British Cruisers, according to the ⟨Bri⟩tish orders of Council & the definition ⟨of⟩ Sir Wm. Scott thereon, that "Portugal bei⟨ng⟩ now a neutral & friendly Country, s⟨ince⟩ the departure of the French" a trade w⟨ill⟩ be allowed by Great Britain or in other words, by those orders, to Neu⟨trals⟩ between it & other friendly Countrie⟨s.⟩ This certainly will not be deemed an ⟨   ⟩ conclusion when it is recollected that ⟨   ⟩ one of our vessels which entered Lisbo⟨n⟩ about the time, or shortly after the Bl⟨ock⟩ade of the port in Octr. 1807, were cap⟨tured,⟩ altho they all came in without bei⟨ng⟩ warned off & without any knowled⟨ge⟩ of the Blockade; and the Ship Sally ⟨&⟩ Hetty, belonging to Messrs. Joseph ⟨   ⟩ & Co: of Philada. was spoken with by ⟨a⟩ Brig of War just in the offing w⟨hich⟩ permitted her to pass. These favour⟨able⟩ circumstances led the Captains ⟨& su⟩percargoes to beleive that they sh⟨ould⟩ be allowed freely to return hom⟨e,⟩ but their confidence in Britis⟨h⟩ justice was cruelly repaid by ⟨the⟩ condemnation, in England, of Vessels & Cargoes.

By a Bremen v⟨essel⟩ which arrived from New York, ⟨I have⟩ seen papers to the 16 Decr. with ⟨the⟩ Presidents Message & detached p⟨arts⟩ of the accompanying document⟨s.⟩ Altho. it had been intimated to m⟨e se⟩veral times that he intended ⟨to re⟩sign, I could not see this last publ⟨ic⟩ declaration of it without min⟨gled⟩ emotions of veneration & regret ⟨I am⟩ persuaded that there is not an A⟨mer⟩ican, whose National feelings a⟨re not⟩ swallowed up by Party resentm⟨ent⟩ but what must regret his ⟨   ⟩ from Office. When We contemplate His elevation to the first Magistracy at a time unparallelled in the annals of history; that during his administration the best measures have been selected from amongst the favourable Political situations in which our Country has been placed, and when press’d & surrounded on all sides by danger, he has recommended the least injurious that circumstances would admit; that by his penetration, foresight, judgment & skill, he has not only conducted the Vessel of State in safety through the perils of a tempestuous ocean, but by lightening her of a considerable portion of a burthen, which has been one of the causes of a tremendous concussion in one, & is likely ultimately to overwhelm another of the European States, he has put the ship in so good a trim as easily to weather the tempests to which she may unavoidably be exposed in the political Oceans, his cotemporaries must view him as one of the ablest & best of Men, and history hand his name down to posterity as a sage who was an honor to human nature. I was both sorry & glad to see the proposals that had been made to the British Ministry; sorry that any circumstances should have induced Govmt. to make any advances toward an accommodation with a Sett of Men who had so grossly & openly violated our Neutral rights & countenanced the most flagitious proceedings toward us; and glad that by a ⟨p⟩olicy so forbearing & humane, our fellow Citizens must be satisfied that ⟨e⟩very step had been taken to releive them from the pressure of the Embargo, and hence, that every doubt must be removed in their min⟨ds⟩ of the necessity of laying it, & of its ⟨con⟩tinuing to be enforced with the utmost rigour. I was much please⟨d⟩ with Mr. Giles’s speech upon the ⟨mo⟩tion for the repeal of the embargo. ⟨It⟩ appeared to me that he took the ⟨pro⟩per ground & treated the questio⟨n⟩ with great ability. His & my old ⟨ac⟩quaintance Mr. Quincy’s were ⟨the⟩ only two I saw. Mr. Q. need n⟨ot⟩ have sacked his invention for fa⟨r-⟩fetched similies, which when f⟨ound⟩ could Scarcely hobble on Crut⟨ches⟩ to prove that the liberty & Patrio⟨tism⟩ of many in Boston to day, is n⟨ot⟩ what it was from 1770 to the e⟨nd⟩ of our Revolutionary War. He ⟨in⟩ his own person affords the stro⟨ng⟩est evidence in point. Compar⟨e the⟩ patriotic resistance of Josiah Quincy ⟨his⟩ father to the injustice & oppression ⟨of⟩ Great Britain, and the feeble at⟨tempt⟩ of the Son to palliate wrongs & vio⟨len⟩ces, which are much less defensib⟨le⟩ according to general reason ⟨&⟩ principles of National Law, and ⟨a⟩ more striking comment on his ⟨   ⟩tion cannot be afforded. It is f⟨ortu⟩nate however that the talents ⟨are⟩ all on the side of right; for the emanations of Mr. Quincy ⟨the⟩ Younger cannot boast of the ⟨spi⟩rit of an ignis fatuus; even the ⟨un⟩wary will not be led astray by ⟨   ⟩⟨.⟩ I can compare them to nothing ⟨but⟩ the froth upon small beer.

In my last I mentioned that an order had been issued for arming all the Portugueze capable of military service. The proclamation left the kind of arms to the choice of the people, recommending Pikes of about 10 feet long or fire arms. The pikes, probably for want of fire arms, have generally been adopted. The pike men are daily disciplining but altho the long pikes make somewhat of a formidable figure on parade, I imagine they would be but poor weapons against veteran Soldiers. Altho I think that the Portugueze would make good Soldiers if well disciplined & commmanded by Officers of Skill & experience; yet I beleive that in their present state, little or no resistance to an invading army can be expected from them. They may annoy it & perhaps somewhat harrass the foraging parties, but this I imagine is the most if not all that will be done. At the same time that such preparations are making for defense, all the Brass cannon & mortars that are in the Arsenal & the ⟨o⟩ther deposits of the City are daily embarking on board of vessels; and I am told that all the brass Cannon in St. Julien’s Castle, at the Mouth of the Tagus, & those in the other forts on the River & near the Sea coast, are dismantling & likewise shipping. The best furniture & other ⟨v⟩aluables belonging to the Royal family are also packing up & put in pla⟨c⟩es contigious to the River, ready for ⟨s⟩hipping, as is the public library. The ⟨B⟩ritish Merchants & many Portugueze, have been preparing for ⟨a⟩bout three weeks past, to leave this at the shortest notice. I apprehend th⟨at⟩ they would have been obliged to ha⟨ve⟩ gone before this, had the weather ⟨not⟩ been so uncommonly bad since C⟨hrist⟩mas as must have greatly retard⟨ed⟩ the operations of regular armies. The last four or five British Regim⟨ents⟩ that left here for Spain about the be⟨gin⟩ning of Novr. got as far as Salaman⟨ca⟩ & marched back again. They have ⟨for⟩ several days past been coming ⟨i⟩n by small parties, terribly worn dow⟨n &⟩ exhausted; in fact except in point ⟨of⟩ shoes they are in a worse conditi⟨on⟩ than were the French in 1807. Both ⟨Of⟩ficers & Soldiers are perfectly dis⟨sa⟩tisfied with the Service. They all ⟨uni⟩formly assert that they are willi⟨ng⟩ to defend the Island, but never wil⟨l⟩ come to the Continent again. ⟨   ⟩ of the Officers openly abuse the Mi⟨nis⟩try & declare that their Country ⟨will⟩ be ruined if there is not a chang⟨e.⟩ Three of the regiments that were ⟨in⟩tended to remain in Portugal ⟨have⟩ been embarked, on board of Transp⟨orts⟩ for about a fortnight, & those w⟨ho⟩ arrive from Spain, after recrui⟨ting⟩ a little are daily embarking. ⟨The⟩ transports with them still rem⟨ain⟩ in the River, but it is given o⟨ut⟩ that they are going to Cadiz & f⟨resh⟩ troops under General Wellesl⟨ey are⟩ to be sent from England to ⟨   ⟩ them. If this second edition of ⟨the⟩ Earl of Bute’s & Lord North’s Admi⟨nis⟩trations, Mr. Canning & his coadju⟨tors⟩ should not be displaced, and they ⟨should⟩ force us to measure our streng⟨th once⟩ more with that Nation, We ⟨shall⟩ not have to contend with such veterans as fought under Wolf. The Officers & Soldiers are certainly good looking Men & must make a pretty figure on Wimbleton Common; but the former generally appear to be raw & inexperienced, and the latter not to have much idea of military service beyond that of standing ⟨e⟩rect, marching, looking well to the ⟨r⟩ight, wheeling & the manual exercise: ⟨a⟩t least, if I am to judge from what I have seen, they seem to be very unfit for going through the fatigues of a ⟨s⟩evere campaign. It is said & I beleive with truth, that a Regiment which ⟨w⟩as stationed at Castello Branco, made a precipitate retreat from that place, upon its being reported that a column of French were at no great distance: but that it turned out to be only about two hundred french ⟨p⟩risoners that were sent into Portu⟨g⟩al, and were to pass through ⟨t⟩hat town. There is nothing certainly known here of the actual State of ⟨S⟩ir John Moore’s & Gen. Baird’s army beyond what was communi⟨c⟩ated through the medium of the British prints, and none have ⟨re⟩ached here of a later date than the ⟨l⟩ast of December. But from the little ⟨w⟩hich can be collected through pri⟨v⟩ate channels, I imagine that the ⟨re⟩mains of them have been embark⟨e⟩d at Vigo & Coruna. It is said that ⟨t⟩he French are in possession of the ⟨f⟩ormer & have advanced as far as ⟨   ⟩ just on the Northern border of this Kingdom. They are doubtless also in ⟨p⟩ossession of Coruna. We have daily accounts of Victories over the French in Arragon & Catalonia; so we had of the obstinate resistance of the p⟨eople⟩ of Madrid & the great losses the fre⟨nch⟩ sustained in their several attac⟨ks on⟩ it, untill the french Bulletins by ⟨the⟩ way of England acquainted us w⟨ith⟩ its surrender, on the 4th: of Decr. ⟨with⟩out any resistance; and so we had ⟨of the expedi⟩tion, untill the return of the B. fo⟨rce⟩ beforementioned, convinced us to ⟨the⟩ contrary. I do not imagine, from ⟨what⟩ I can collect, which I am sorry to ⟨say⟩ is very little as every Source of ⟨com⟩munication is studiously clo⟨sed,⟩ and from what I see, as well as ⟨from⟩ general reasoning, that the Peni⟨nsu⟩la will resist the French Arms ⟨many⟩ months longer, unless the weath⟨er, the⟩ badness of the roads, & difficulty ⟨in⟩ obtaining supplies, present gr⟨eater⟩ obstacles than I think will any force ⟨that⟩ is now in it, or can be organi⟨zed⟩ in it, or unless some very unfor⟨eseen⟩ event occurs.

The Hon’ble Mr. ⟨Vil⟩liers reached here about five ⟨days⟩ since as British Minister. Afte⟨r the⟩ Christmas Holidays I waited on ⟨him.⟩ He received me with much polit⟨eness⟩ & said that he was very happy ⟨to see⟩ an Officer from the United Sta⟨tes.⟩ I replied that it would always ⟨give⟩ me much pleasure to meet ⟨an⟩ officer under the British Gov⟨mt.⟩ upon terms of harmony & cord⟨iality,⟩ and I was persuaded that this ⟨was⟩ the general wish of my Govern⟨ment.⟩ He answered that this was do⟨ubtless⟩ the wish of His Majesty, & relate⟨d to⟩ me an observation which h⟨e heard⟩ was made by the King to the la⟨te⟩ our Ministers, which left that Court, that "He was the last person in His Dominions that had assented to our independence & would be the last person that would attempt to deprive us of it" I answered that it was a handsome observation of His Majesty, and as I was Satisfied of the disposition of my Government & the people at large to maintain a good understanding with Gt. Britain, I was in hopes that the favourable Sentiments of His Majesty would produce more harmony than for some time ⟨p⟩ast had prevailed; but untill the re⟨p⟩eal of the orders of Council of Novr. ⟨1⟩807 I saw but little probability of harmony being restored to the two Coun⟨tr⟩ies. He, as Genl. Beresford had before ⟨d⟩one, laid the Blame to the French ⟨de⟩cree of Novr. 1806, and I replied in nearly ⟨th⟩e same terms I did to the General, adding ⟨so⟩me remarks upon the impolicy of ⟨sa⟩crificing the Manufacturing inter⟨es⟩t of the Kingdom to the West India Merchants; that even in so doing that ⟨th⟩e object of the West India Merchants ⟨h⟩ad not been accomplished, for I was ⟨sa⟩tisfied that not a pound more of Sugar ⟨or C⟩offee had found its way to the Con⟨ti⟩nent owing to the measure; and ⟨ha⟩d not the unforeseen events in Spain, pre⟨se⟩nted an opening for the export of their ⟨M⟩anufactures & Colonial produce, ⟨w⟩hich was in no wise effected by those ⟨or⟩ders, I was persuaded that very se⟨ri⟩ous injuries must have resulted ⟨to⟩ the West India Interest as well as ⟨to⟩ the large body of the Manufactu⟨re⟩rs from them. (That the West India ⟨P⟩lanter will, notwithstanding the opening in Spain, suffer by those orders, and through him the W. I. Merchant, I ⟨had⟩ little doubt, almost every article ⟨of⟩ subsistence, & his lumber, ⟨ma⟩terial necessary for carrying on his ⟨plan⟩tation, having risen nearly four f⟨old⟩ whilst the sale of his production⟨s had⟩ not extended by them, nor increased ⟨   ⟩ little in price.) He then made so⟨me⟩ observations about the great In⟨jury⟩ that the Embargo would be to our Country, ta⟨lked⟩ much of the discontents that it ⟨had⟩ already produced, that these discon⟨tents⟩ would probably induce Congre⟨ss to⟩ take off the embargo, that at a⟨ll⟩ events a change of measures ⟨was⟩ likely to be the consequence ⟨of⟩ a change of Presidents, maki⟨ng⟩ some general insinuations ⟨about⟩ a French party; to which I repli⟨ed in⟩ nearly the same manner that ⟨I had⟩ done to General Beresford, (com⟨mu⟩nicated in mine of the 3rd. Nov⟨r.), like⟩wise observing, that this notion o⟨f a⟩ french party & french influence ⟨was⟩ without foundation, as I was ⟨convin⟩ced every Government would ⟨be sa⟩tisfied of, who should infringe our ⟨na⟩tional rights. I often get alm⟨ost⟩ vexed to hear Europeans perpet⟨ually⟩ prating about foreign parties ⟨& fo⟩reign influence, as if the most ⟨in⟩dependent & free people in th⟨e⟩ world were incapable of acting ⟨with⟩ the same independence as it re⟨gards⟩ foreign powers as they ⟨do at⟩ home. It should seem that thes⟨e peo⟩ple who always ape the manners ⟨of the⟩ highest classes of Society, or always take their ⟨to⟩ne from a King or his Ministers, because the one & the other are more powerful than they, suppose that because We have not several ⟨h⟩undred vessels of War & a standing Army ⟨of⟩ several hundred thousand Men, that ⟨i⟩t is impossible that we should feel, ⟨th⟩ink & act for ourselves. But to return ⟨to⟩ Mr. Villiers, had he heard the General’s ⟨ob⟩servations he could not have followed ⟨h⟩im more exactly; and as I had answer’d ⟨th⟩e former from the best information I ⟨po⟩ssess’d, I made nearly the Same ⟨o⟩bservations to the Minister. Had I then ⟨p⟩ossessed the information which the Pre⟨si⟩dents communication to Congress ⟨co⟩ntained, I think I could with ease ⟨h⟩ave convinced both of them, that what⟨ev⟩er may be the Sentiments of the King, ⟨the⟩ Ministry have discovered no very ⟨cor⟩dial good will toward the United ⟨St⟩ates; but I have no kind of doubt that ⟨the⟩ steady fortitude, with which my ⟨Co⟩untrymen will bear the inconveni⟨en⟩ces resulting from the embargo; and ⟨the⟩ vanishing of the dazling prospects ⟨of⟩ Continental atchievements, with ⟨wh⟩ich the minds of the British Minis⟨try⟩ seemed to have been inflated, toge⟨the⟩r with the conviction that a 15 Months ⟨ex⟩periment must have produced on ⟨the⟩ir minds, of the little benefit re⟨su⟩lting to their own Merchants from ⟨the⟩ Orders of Council, or the little effect ⟨the⟩y have produced on the French, ⟨wi⟩ll, even if they are enabled to hold their places, at length open their eyes ⟨to⟩ the real interest of their Nation, & ⟨con⟩duce to a more equitable con⟨du⟩ct toward our Country.

The British Ministry are also affording to this Kingdom a sma⟨ll s⟩ample of their high sense of National ⟨jus⟩tice & their usual marked attention to ⟨the⟩ rights of Neutrals, even when their po⟨litical⟩ friends. About the time of the British Sq⟨ua⟩dron’s entering Lisbon, Captn. Smith in ⟨the⟩ Comus frigate was sent to St. Uber, whe⟨re he⟩ took possession of all the Danish Vesse⟨ls⟩ Upon the representation of the Danish ⟨Con⟩sul General to Admiral Cotton, Cap⟨tn.⟩ Smith had orders from the Admiral ⟨to⟩ put the Captains again in possession ⟨of⟩ their respective vessels & to leave the Ca⟨ptns.⟩ at liberty to do as they pleased with th⟨em,⟩ which was also communicated to the ⟨Con⟩sul General by an Official letter. ⟨Some⟩ accordingly made an actual Sale ⟨of⟩ their vessels to Portugueze Subjects, ⟨who⟩ were loading them for the Brazils; ⟨when⟩ upon the arrival of Admiral Ber⟨keley⟩ (Admiral Cotton having gone to ⟨the⟩ Northward) of Chesapeake memo⟨ry,⟩ he issued an order for taking possess⟨ion⟩ of all the Danish Vessels in Por⟨t⟩ about 60 sail mostly of large vess⟨els⟩ not even excepting those sold t⟨o⟩ Portugueze; which was done wi⟨th⟩ the direct or indirect Sanction ⟨of⟩ the Regency, at least as it is be⟨leived⟩ & as far as the public Knows. The ⟨Por⟩tugueze purchasers remonstrated ⟨with⟩ the Admiral, & appealed to the ⟨Regen⟩cy, but have not been able to ⟨get⟩ any other satisfaction from the ⟨Ad⟩miral, than they were at libe⟨rty⟩ to send the vessels where they ⟨plea⟩sed by depositing their value in ⟨his⟩ hands: he, it is said, observing ⟨to a⟩ Gentleman standing by, that h⟨e pi⟩tied the poor miserable creatu⟨res,⟩ meaning the portugueze purch⟨asers.⟩ If he Said it, he was more rig⟨ht in⟩ his observation than perhaps he himself was aware of; for that Nation is really a subject for pity & Commiseration, who accepts of the assistance of a stronger power that afterwards hectors and domineer’s in the Country assuming the internal powers, & making the Government but a mere Phantom. The Vessels are now advertised for freight or Charter for Gt. Britain under the Command of British Officers. It appears that when Mr. Canning & his coadjutors have any dirty work to do, this Hon’ble Admiral is pitched upon for the service.

I have lately got released, by a personal application, to Captn. Smith of the frigate Comus, two American Seamen, one impressed in the Island of Madeira & the other here: another named John Bitters (who said he was born in New Jersey, I think in one of the small towns near the Delaware, not far from Burlington or somewhere between that & opposite to Philada., and who I have no doubt is a native of the United States, from his manners & language) likewise impressed here into the same frigate, was refused to be given up to my Vice Consul under pretence of a disagreement of half an inch between his person & protection, but the Captain would not produce the protection to him. When I went on board the Captain was ashore & it was said that his protection was locked up in the Captains desk. The next morning early the frigate sailed takeing Bitters to Sea. I should have been more minute in my inquiries about him had I not expected that he would have been given up when ⟨the⟩ Captain came on board. Robert Gi⟨les⟩ whose protection was granted by Jos⟨eph⟩ Warner Rose, Agent for the protectio⟨n of⟩ American Seamen in the Island ⟨of⟩ Antigua, dated 17 June 1808 & appro⟨ved⟩ by Jas. Leander Cathcart the 26. Septr.⟨   ⟩ a Native of Portsmouth in Virgini⟨a, with⟩ dark hair, brown complexion, ha⟨zel⟩ eyes, five feet nine inches high & ⟨   ⟩ years of age, as you will see by th⟨e⟩ inclosed copy of his protection, ⟨had in⟩formed me by letter that he was ⟨im⟩pressed on board the Bg. of War Nautilus, Capt⟨n.⟩ in the Island of Madeira, that ⟨he⟩ escaped from that Vessel in ⟨St.⟩ Michaels was retaken & turned ⟨over⟩ to the frigate Nymphe, Hon’ble J. Piercy C⟨om.⟩ on board which he now is. I sent ⟨the⟩ Vice Consul on board, to whom ⟨the⟩ Commander refused to deliver ⟨him⟩ unless by an order from Admiral ⟨Ber⟩keley. As I had not thought prop⟨er⟩ to make the Admiral a visit, ⟨as⟩ he lives but about a hund⟨red⟩ yards from me, and felt no dis⟨posi⟩tion to have any conversation ⟨with⟩ him, I sent my Vice Consul, upo⟨n the⟩ business, to whom he replie⟨d⟩ he would make inquiry abo⟨ut the⟩ Man. When he again went, th⟨e Ad⟩miral said that he would no⟨t de⟩liver the Man up untill the ⟨return⟩ of the frigate from which he ⟨pre⟩tended that Giles had deserte⟨d.⟩

The Ship Frankli⟨n,⟩ James Forsyth, Master, of New ⟨Lon⟩don, reached here about 14 d⟨ays⟩ since, a prize to the Brig of ⟨War⟩ Fer⟨   ⟩ Wales, Commander, by which vessel the Franklin was captured on the 7th. Novr. last in Lat. 18degrees N. & Long. ⟨   ⟩degrees W. on her passage from Martinique to ⟨N⟩ew London being loaded with Sugar & a few ⟨b⟩ags of Coffee. After which, Captn. Forsyth ⟨g⟩ot possession of his vessel, when on the 2nd. of Decr., she was again taken pos⟨s⟩ession of in Lat. 32.degreesN & Long. 70.degrees W. by the Diamond & Hypomene frigates; who put another prize Master & eight ⟨Se⟩amen on board of her, & ordered her ⟨f⟩or Gibraltar; but she put in here short ⟨o⟩f provisions, the 19 Ulto., & sailed the 1st. Inst. ⟨f⟩or Gibraltar. I at first suspected that ⟨s⟩he was one of our blown off vessels, ⟨b⟩ut on going on board & examining, I was ⟨s⟩atisfied that she had been really cap⟨t⟩ured. She is one of Messrs. Brown & Son’s ⟨o⟩f New London’s licens’d vessels. She ⟨i⟩s partly or wholly owned by Elisha Dennison, Esqr., of New London.

Before I close, allow an American, who loves his Country, and ⟨w⟩ho looks forward with peculiar com⟨p⟩lacency to the time when his pecuni⟨a⟩ry circumstances will enable him ⟨t⟩o return & spend his latter days in it, ⟨to⟩ say, that after Thomas Jefferson, you, ⟨S⟩ir, are the only Man he has wished ⟨f⟩or many years past should fill the elevated & Arduous Station of the Pre⟨s⟩idency, and please to accept his con⟨g⟩ratulations on the honorable mark ⟨o⟩f distinction which he understands has been conferred on you by the ⟨s⟩uffrages of your fellow Citizens, and his wishes that your administration may be as prosperous & happy as he anticipates. With entire Respect I have the honor to be Sir Yr. Mo. Ob. Servt.

William Jarvis

P. S.

All the Portugueze Men of War & frigates, whi⟨ch⟩ may be rendered in a fit State for Sea are putting ⟨in⟩ order with the utmost expedition, and the two ⟨Tuni⟩sian vessels of War, which were not in a fit s⟨tate⟩ for sea when the others sailed are now ready ⟨to⟩ sail. I find I have omitted to mention, tha⟨t Mr.⟩ Villiers, the British Minister seems to be a ⟨Man⟩ of ordinary, or at most, but of middling talents, ⟨and⟩ of Gentlemanly manners or rather that Ki⟨nd of⟩ manners which is acquired by mixing a ⟨good⟩ deal with fashionable company.

15 March. Some circumstances having d⟨elayed⟩ the two Brigs to this time, affords me the ⟨oppor⟩tunity of informing you by them that ⟨   ⟩ three regiments which sailed from thi⟨s in the⟩ early part of last month was refused ⟨   ⟩ admittance into Cadiz & returned in ⟨the⟩ course of the month. Seven thousa⟨nd⟩ troops which sailed from England so⟨me⟩ time since, put into Cork in distr⟨ess⟩ and from thence sailed for Cadiz, unde⟨r the⟩ command of Genl. Sherbrook, were li⟨kewise⟩ refused admittance into that City on ⟨the⟩ 9th. instant & reached here the 13th. Five ⟨thou⟩sand more are daily expected and it i⟨s said⟩ that the number destined for Portugal is ⟨   ⟩ five thousand Men. What was the re⟨ason⟩ of the Supreme Junta’s refusal of the⟨m⟩ is not Known. It is however beleive⟨d⟩ that the English will not be allowed to tak⟨e ei⟩ther the Spanish or French fleets from ⟨Cadiz⟩ bay, nor did they get the Spanish fl⟨eet from⟩ Ferrol, so that it appears that this Mi⟨niste⟩rially vaunted expedition, has termi⟨nated⟩ in the loss of eight or ten thousand ⟨men and⟩ the principal part of their horses, thei⟨r bag⟩gage, ammunition & nearly the w⟨hole⟩ of their artillery, besides the lessening of ⟨their⟩ troops so much in the opinion of the ⟨Span⟩yards, that they now, almost contemp⟨tuously⟩ reject their assistance. It appears tha⟨t the⟩ French have got possession of the ⟨   ⟩ of the Archbishop & Almasay on the ⟨   ⟩ and are about 25,000 strong in that ⟨quar⟩ter. They got possession the 19th. ulto. ⟨since⟩ which no movements in that quar⟨ter⟩ of any consequence has taken place. The Spanish Army under the Dukes of Infatado & Albuquerque & Genl. Cuesta are represented to be superior in force. The two former are stationed to the Southward & the eastward of the French & the latter to the Westward. The last advices from Saragoça were that it still held out; but I think that We have no certain advice from thence or Catalonia later than the 10th. or middle of feby. An action has recently taken place on the northern frontier of this Kingdom between the French & Portugueze in which the latter were beaten back; after which, many state, that the French retired, but the best informed appear to be certain that the French got possession of Chaves, one of the best fortified towns on the Northern fronteir of Portugal. One thing certain is that the advice of the Action brought yesterday by a Courier, has not yet been made public, from whence it is concluded that the french are doubtless in possession of Chaves. It is said that the neighborhood of Bragança has been the Scene of another action in which the French had the advantage.

General Beresford reached here about ten days since from England, recommended it appears by the British Govmt. to the Regency as a Commander in Chief ⟨f⟩or the Portugueze Army and the Regency have appointed him, and in the language of Mrs. Clarke, Gazetted him ⟨f⟩or that Station. Whatever may be the talents of the General, I think it much more likely to prove a disservice to their cause than an advantage, as it ⟨will⟩ probably excite disgust, discontent ⟨& jea⟩lousy in the superior Officers in the ⟨Por⟩tugueze service. A Mr. Jeffry rea⟨ched⟩ here about a fortnight since as ⟨Bri⟩tish Consul General. As I have n⟨ot⟩ thought it incumbent on Con⟨suls⟩ to observe the ceremonies proscr⟨ibed⟩ to Ministers, under ordinary circ⟨um⟩stances I should certainly have ⟨paid⟩ him the first visit; but to an Off⟨icer⟩ appointed by a Ministry who hav⟨e of⟩fered such an Affront to my Cou⟨ntry⟩ in addition to its iniquitous ⟨mea⟩sures toward it, I determined on ⟨his⟩ arrival to have no intercourse wi⟨th⟩ him unless the customary notice [  ] card of his arrival, was left at ⟨my⟩ house. This was not done; ⟨   ⟩ in four or five days after he reac⟨hed⟩ here, he appeared on the Exchan⟨ge⟩ I think three days successively, i⟨n⟩ undress uniform, the third day ⟨in⟩ company with the Gentleman ⟨who⟩ has acted as Consul General sinc⟨e the⟩ port was open, with whom I ha⟨ve⟩ been long acquainted, and as I ⟨was⟩ talking on the other side of the E⟨xchange⟩ they crossed over & passed so close ⟨to⟩ me as to brush my coat, but a⟨s I saw⟩ them coming I rather turned ⟨my⟩ head the other way & continued ⟨my⟩ conversation without paying ⟨the⟩ least attention to them; and ⟨Mr. Jef⟩fry has not since appeared on ⟨the⟩ Exchange. I do not pretend to ⟨say⟩ that it was with an intention of speaking to me that Mr. Ball & Mr. Jeffry crossed or that Mr. J. not coming to the Exchange since, was in any way owing to my not speaking to him; but I beleive the first, as they took an unnecessarily circuitous rout, from the spot where I saw them standing together, in passing me to come on the side of the Exchange that I was on. The two last times I met Mr. Villiers, within 3 or 4 days, passing the streets, he seemed to be uncommonly gracious.

If what I hear of the proceedings in Boston, & some of the neigh⟨b⟩ouring towns, is true, I much fear that they will be attended with un⟨f⟩avourable consequences in England, ⟨p⟩articularly if the Ministry ⟨c⟩an make the Parliament & the Nation beleive that We shall be obliged to take off our Embargo to ⟨p⟩revent a civil War. In the present situation of their affairs, there can be little doubt, by rigidly infor⟨c⟩ing the Embargo Laws & the prohibitory ⟨a⟩ct, that in two or three months We ⟨s⟩hould be able to command such equita⟨b⟩le terms as that our flag may again ⟨w⟩aft on the Ocean with honor & ⟨s⟩afety; and if it does not, our Country ⟨w⟩ill have to thank the inconsider⟨a⟩te conduct of our exclusive friends ⟨t⟩o good order & good Government.

What I suggested as probable, in mine ⟨o⟩f the 23rd. Decr., regarding bread Stuffs, ⟨h⟩as literally taken place; the arri⟨v⟩al of about twenty greek vessels here, (which since the peace between the Porte & Gt. Britain, have got Licences or Papers at Malta, allow⟨ing⟩ them to come into the Atlantic), & ⟨   ⟩ to 40 Spanish boats, loaded with w⟨heat,⟩ the latter carrying only from 500 to ⟨   ⟩ bushels each, having reduced the price ⟨of⟩ wheat, within three weeks twe⟨nty⟩ five %p% and it is now dull at ⟨   ⟩ dollars & three quarters to $2 P bushel ⟨   ⟩ bread is only five Cents P pound. ⟨I am⟩ satisfied that had the embargo ⟨been⟩ taken off in December, flour wo⟨uld⟩ not now have commanded her⟨e⟩ m⟨ore⟩ than $5 to $6 P barrel.

For the expences tha⟨t⟩ have fallen on me in consequence of ⟨our⟩ having no Minister here, vizt. t⟨he cus⟩tomary New Years gift to the Co⟨   ⟩ & Servants of the Ministers & ⟨   ⟩ the postage of letters to & from our public Offices, from the 1st. July 1805 ⟨to the 31st.⟩ Decr. 1808, amounting to $186:3⟨   ⟩ I have taken the liberty to draw ⟨   ⟩ favr. of the Secty. of the Treasury, a⟨s you⟩ will see by the inclosed accounts, ⟨which⟩ I hope that Govmt. will do me ⟨the⟩ favour to allow & to honor ⟨my⟩ drafts.

By a letter that I was favou⟨red with⟩ a short time since from Mr. Graham ⟨via⟩ Algeirs, dated in May last, the flatter⟨ing &⟩ agreeable intelligence of the intentio⟨n of⟩ Govmt. to comply with my wishes for a ⟨re⟩moval to Bahia de St. Salvador, when ⟨it is⟩ Known that Consular appointments ⟨to⟩ that Country would be agreeable, ⟨&⟩ whenever Govmt. conceives that it ca⟨n con⟩sistently honor me with the appointme⟨nt⟩ I shall with pleasure forthwith repair ⟨to that⟩ post; but several reasons induce me ⟨to⟩ beleive that I cannot proceed there without the approbation so to do. With Respect I have the honor t⟨o be⟩ Sir Yr. Mo. Ob. ⟨Servt.⟩

William Ja⟨rvis⟩

Upon the arrival of the Nautilus I found that Robert Giles, had entered on board that vessel I consequently took no farther steps about him.N. B. 17th. It is confidently whispered that Saragoça has surrendered by capitulation. It does not appear that the English calculate upon remaining here very long, from their not laying in any stocks of Bread Stuffs. They only purchase from hand to mouth.

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

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