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To James Madison from James Monroe, 16 May 1814

From James Monroe

washington may 16th 1814

Dear Sir

I enclose you a copy of a letter sent yesterday to genl. winder, relating to the communication between Col. P. & Col: Baynes, which were forwarded to you a day or two before.1 A stronger paper was authorised by the heads of depts., but I afterwards moderated the terms, retaining the sense. The distinction in it, is so obvious, between the passage which expresses, the sense of the govt. on Prevosts paper, and that which directs the terms to be used on delivering or transmitting it to Baynes, that it can hardly be mistaken. Shall any thing be said, respecting the duration of the armistice, suggested by Prevost’s communication, & adverted to in my letter to winder.2

It is to be regretted that genl. macomb acted in this affair; and equally so, that Col: P. recd. the paper. The instruction to the former was explicit, not to act, unless genl. w. shod. not be exchanged and the course in the latter instance seemed to be obvious. To receive such a paper, & not to notice it, would give them an advantage, which might wound the public feeling should the papers be laid before the public.

A commissn. or power authorising mr Luffborough to act in the absence of Mr Bacon, sent to you some time since, has not been returned, nor has one for an assessor at Boston, which it was proposed to put blank to Mr Prince. The former is much wanted. They may have miscarried.3

Young Thos. Brent is very desirous of obtaining an appointment to Cadiz, as consul, in which he is earnestly supported by his uncle, & all his friends. The Secry of the navy has recommended a mr young, brother, or other near connection of his Lady4 for that place, which will make a difficulty in it. Mr Brent has the offer of the agency in some important private business at Cadiz, which might induce him to go there with a hope of employment either there, at Malta or in Barbary, when such appointments are made.5 He is an excellent young man. What shall I say to him? With affecte regard

Jas Monroe

RC and enclosure (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers); draft (DLC: Monroe Papers). Minor differences between the copies have not been noted. For enclosure, see n. 1.

1See Monroe to JM, 14 May 1814, and nn. 2–4. The copy of Monroe to Winder, 14 May 1814 (3 pp.), enclosed here stated that Sir George Prevost’s letter authorizing Col. Edward Baynes to negotiate an armistice was inappropriate for the occasion and did not accurately reflect “the present state of the parties in the war” or JM’s motives in pursuing a cease-fire. If the British were willing to resume the negotiations, Winder was to return the document, stating only that he would accept one similar to his own, which was “couched in terms usual in such instruments, evincing due consideration for the British Government and the British commander.” Regarding the duration of the armistice, Monroe noted, the U.S. government would consider any proposal. He added that Prevost’s letter should also be returned if the talks did not continue, in which case Winder was to inform the British that parts of the document were “deemed highly improper, and of a nature altogether inadmissible” by JM’s administration.

2Draft lacks the preceding sentence.

3In the draft, the substance of the preceding paragraph is contained in two paragraphs, the second of which includes the following sentence with regard to the commission for the Boston assessorship: “I presume you have heard on this subject from the Treasury.”

4Draft has “Mr Young his wife’s brother.”

5Draft has following sentence as second sentence in this paragraph and concludes here with “It is this offer, which makes it important to him, to have an answer, will you be so good as state what I may say, in general terms.” On 14 Oct. 1814 JM nominated Thomas Brent as secretary to the newly confirmed U.S. minister to Spain, George W. Erving, and the Senate gave its assent the next day (Senate Exec. Proceedings, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends 2:531–32, 534, 572).

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