Thomas Jefferson Papers
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James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 12 June 1809

From James Madison

Washington June 12. 1809

Dr Sir

The Pacific has just returned from G.B. bringing the accts to be seen in the Newspapers. The communications from Pinkney add little to them. The new orders, considering the time, and that the act was known on the passage of which the instructions lately executed by Erskine, were predicated, present a curious feature in the conduct of the B Cabinet. It is explained by some at the expence of its sincerity. It is more probably ascribed, I think to an awkwardness in getting out of an awkward situation, and to the policy of witholding as long as possible from France, the motive of its example, to advances on her part towards adjustment with us. The crooked proceeding seems to be operating as a check to the extravagance of credit given to G.B. for her late arrangement with us; and so far may be salutary.

Be assured of my constant affection

James Madison

RC (DLC: Madison Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 14 June 1809 and so recorded in SJL.

Accounts from London stated that, far from implementing the Erskine agreement and repealing the Orders in Council, new orders issued by the British government on 26 Apr. 1809 strengthened the British blockade of European ports controlled by Napoleon (Washington National Intelligencer, 12 June 1809).

Index Entries

  • Erskine, David M.; agreement with U.S. search
  • Great Britain; Orders in Council (1807) search
  • Madison, James; letters from search
  • Pacific (ship) search
  • Pinkney, William; and Orders in Council search