George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Timothy Pickering, 20 October 1796

Department of State Octr 20. 1796.


Doctor Edwards delivered to me to-day letters from Mr Monroe and Mr King. The Doctor arrived in the ship which had but nineteen days passage. Mr King’s letter of the 10th of September authenticates the one of the same date published in the news-papers, shewing, from Mr Monroe’s letter to him of August 28, that on the appearance of the letter from the minister of foreign affairs to M. Barthelemy, he applied for information whether orders for seizing neutral vessels had been issued, and was answered, "that no such order had been issued, and that none would be issued, in case the British did not seize our vessels."

The letters from Mr Monroe are dated Augt 4. & 6th the latter referring to his accounts of some expenditure. In that of the 4th he mentions that within a few days Mr Mangourit, formerly consul at Charleston, and now secretary of embassy in Spain, had been appointed with the rank of Chargé des Affaires, to succeed Mr Adet, in the U. States. On the morning of the 4th he visited the minister of foreign affairs, "and remonstrated earnestly against the mission of Mr Mangourit to the U.S. as a person who having given offense to our government upon a former occasion, could not be well received by it on the present one." The minister replied in terms sufficiently respectful, but in a manner that showed, if any change were made, it would not be with his consent. He observed however, that if Mr Monroe would write him a short note on the subject, he would lay it before the Directory. Mr Monroe promised to write accordingly.

In this same letter of the 4th of August, Mr Monroe mentions the minister’s letter to Bartholemi as authentic; and that on his speaking to him upon it, the minister’s answer corresponded much in sentiment with the note to Bartholemi. I suppose therefore that when Mr Monroe wrote to Mr King on the 28th of August, he had received further & more explicit information from the French government.

He also mentions the report of a treaty of alliance offensive & defensive between France & Spain as in great forwardness, whereby the latter cedes to the former, Louisiana & perhaps the Floridas: but adds, that he had no authentic information of this; altho’ the source from whence it came, was of a nature to merit attention.

I have the honor to inclose two letters which were received this day; and to be with the highest respect, sir, your most obt servant

Timothy Pickering.

DNA: RG 59—ML—Miscellaneous Letters.

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