James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from James Monroe, 20 September 1813

From James Monroe

Alb: Sepr 20th. 1813.

Dear Sir

The unceasing fall of rain has so broken in on my proposd visit to, & return from Washington, to take Mrs Monroe there, as connected with the movments of my whole family, that I hardly know how to act in it.

Among the papers in the packet addressd to you, is a letter from Beasley, deserving of attention.1 It shows to what a shameful length the practice of trading by license between France & Engld. is carried. The British govt. has evidently feard giving offence to Russia, by persisting in it.

If you see any impropriety in granting Barclays request, you will be so good as to retain his letter2—otherwise; put it in the open packet to Mr Brent. One of the packets to him contains some papers which may be worth your looking at—after casting your eye over them, you will be pleased to seal it.

The other contains only such papers, as are quite unimportant. Very respectfully & sincerely yours

Jas Monroe

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers). Docketed by JM.

1Monroe referred to Reuben G. Beasley’s letter to him of 8 June 1813 (6 pp.; DNA: RG 59, CD, London), which stated that the British government’s recent announcement that it would no longer issue licenses to trade with France was actually a “parade of self-denial, trumpetted to the world … merely to blind Russia & Prussia, who were fighting the battles of England not less than their own.” Enough licenses had been issued prior to the announcement, Beasley wrote, “to supply France with colonial articles for nearly a year’s consumption, and it is more than probable before that stock is consumed another issue will take place.” He went on to explain that the combination of French duties and other costs made it impossible for Americans to trade to advantage with France, while British merchants could do so easily. The U.S. government should discourage trade with Spain and Portugal as well as France, he wrote, not only because of its financial disadvantages, but also because it led to the capture of American seamen needed for the war effort. In addition, Beasley recommended that the United States admit British imports subject to a tariff that would protect American manufactures, thereby increasing its tax revenue and combating the practice of importing British goods in neutral vessels.

2Thomas Barclay’s letter has not been found, but JM’s reply to Monroe of 23 Sept. 1813 suggests that it contained a request for permission to import British merchandise.

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