James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Robert R. Livingston, 24 March 1803

From Robert R. Livingston

No. 72

Paris 24 March 1803.

Dear Sir

The question of war yet remains undetermined my letters from Mr. King of the 18th1 lead me to believe as well as my persuasion of the present System of politicks in England that war will come Soon. Here there is an earnest & Sincere desire to avoid it as well in the Government as the people. I enclosed in my last a note to the Minister.2 Some days after I called upon him & he told me an answer was prepared, & that every thing Should be arranged—& I have no doubt that the answer contained all those assurances which I have been So long Solliciting. Unfortunately at that moment dispatches arrived from Mr Pichon informing them that the appointment of Mr Munroe had tranquillized every thing, & that conceiving then that they might Safely wait his arrival, they determined to See whether the Storm would not blow over in which case they will treat with more advantage. They accordingly Substituted for the first note which as the Minister told me arranged every thing, that inclosed which contains nothing (No 1). To this I put in the note (No 2) which I Suppose will produce no effect if the war does not happen.3 Last night I received another note (No 3) complaining [of] our Supplying the blacks at St Domingo &c to this I returned the answer No 4.4 I have had a great deal of conversation with Genl Bernadotte & communicating my two notes to him, I gave them to him to Shew to the Gentl I have mentioned5 & endeavoured to convince him that he was personally interested, that the Specific declarations I requested Should be given before he goes out—which will be in a few days.

Upon the whole, I think every thing is prepared for Mr Munroe, & I cannot but hope that Something may be effected, tho’ I fear Dupont de Nemours has given them with the best intentions Ideas that we Shall find it hard to eradicate, & impossible to yield to.

Florida is not yet ceded nor, as I hope, very likely to be So. The armament in holland designed for Louisiana is Stopped for the Present in consequence of the State of things here. I am Dear Sir with the highest consideration Your most Obt hum: Servt

Robt R Livingston

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