James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Tobias Lear, 9 April 1813

From Tobias Lear

private.

On board the Ship Halcyon
New York Harbour
9th April 1813.

Dear Sir,

I have the pleasure to inform you that I have just arrived from Cadiz, after a pleasant passage of 38 days; and have forwarded to The Honble. The Secretary of State, a copy, in the Spanish language, of a communication made by the Regency of Spain to the Cortes, on the 31st of december last, on the subject of the conduct of the U. States towards Spain and her American colonies; which is a document of high importance to the U. States, as it discovers the light in which that conduct has been represented to, and viewed by the Regency.1

During our passage this document has been translated into English by my Son, Benjamin Lincoln Lear, who joined me at Algiers about ten days before I left that place, and has now returned with me to the U. States. This translation I have now the honor to enclose For your perusal, as it will require some time to translate so lengthy a paper, and this will give you a knowledge of its contents before that is done.2 But as my Son has no knowledge of the Spanish language but what he acquired during a residence of between two and three Months at Cadiz; it will be necessary to have it revised, or another made, by some person better acquainted with the Spanish language, before a perfect reliance can be placed upon it. I think, however, it is pretty correct.

In my letter to the Secretary of State I have mentioned other matters relative to Spain, which will undoubtedly be communicated to you;3 and as soon as I shall have landed my Baggage, and Mrs. Lear is a little recruited from the Voyage, I shall proceed to Washington, where I hope to have the happiness of a personal communication with you, and give many details which are interesting to our affairs with Algiers, as well as with Spain; and also to assure you of my readiness to devote myself, with all the exertion of which I am capable, to any service I can render my country in the present important conflict, which I have no doubt will terminate as honorably and gloriously for the U. States, as it was undertaken justly and necessarily.

I had the honor of writing to you very fully on the 31st of August,4 in answer to your respected favor of the 26th of October 1812,5 which letter I hope has reached you.

My Son, whom I send on to Washington, will have the honor to deliver this letter to you.

Mrs. Lear unites with me in best respects to Mrs. Madison and yourself—and I pray you to accept assurances of the sincere Respect and attachment with which I have the honor to be, Dear Sir, Your obliged and Obedt Sert

Tobias Lear

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1For the Regency’s report, see Lear to JM, January 1813, PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (6 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 5:538, 539 n. 1.

2Benjamin Lincoln Lear’s translation of the report has not been found. The sole surviving translation is in the hand of John Graham (ibid., 5:539 n. 1).

3In his 9 Apr. 1813 letter to James Monroe covering the Regency’s report, Lear observed that the committee appointed by the cortes to consider that document had delayed stating their conclusion “as long as possible, from a conviction on their part, that it must recommend immediate hostilities against the U. States.” Before leaving Cádiz, Lear had been “informed, from good authority, that the Spanish Government had sold their right to the Floridas to the British, and had actually received two Millions sterling on that account.” In Lear’s opinion, however, the “Spaniards in general” were “not well inclined towards the British,” and the cortes viewed Great Britain with “great jealousy, particularly as it relates to their Colonies.” Lear added that transport ships carrying 4,000 Spanish troops had sailed for Veracruz from Cádiz on 26 Feb. (DNA: RG 59, CD, Algiers).

4PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (6 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 5:230–33.

5Lear referred to JM’s letter to him of 26 Oct. 1811 (PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (6 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 3:501–2).

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