Thomas Jefferson Papers
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James Monroe to Thomas Jefferson, [22] January 1816

From James Monroe

washington Jany. [22] 1816

Dear Sir

The letters to Dr Jackson & mr Appleton received with yours of the 16th shall be forwarded by the first opportunity, of which, many, frequently offer. you will settle the question between mr Short and me, whenever it may be most convenient to yourself & the arbitrators. my attendance is altogether unnecessary. I will instruct a mr York who has succeeded mr Byrd in the managment of my farm, to allow your agent, to trim my vines, & take from them whatever he thinks fit. If he will perform that office, on all of them, I will make him a just compensation, as old Richard, I fear, does not understand it, and Byrd is otherwise engaged. mr Lamotte has very strong claims to the consulate at Havre. I experienc’d in my intercourse with him while in France, a conduct deserving in all respects great confidence & esteem. A mr I. C. Barnett, has been consul at that port many years, tho’ as the port was blockaded, he resided at Paris, & was under the Louisiana convention a commissr. He is I presume not unknown to you. The late war has thrown on the govt, from the army & flotilla service, many applicants, some of great merit, who are destitute of all resource, and willing to make experiments in any line to gain a living. Altho’ they are not, in many instances, qualified for such a trust, and there is a strong sentiment, that they ought to pursue in private life industrious occupations, yet their claim is felt in all cases when put in competition with foreigners. There is not in truth a single consulate held by one of the latter description, no matter how long, that there are not many applications for, supported too by members of Congress, who have uniformly supported the government.

I send you a letter, which I have just receivd from Genl Scott at Paris, which gives a correct view, as I presume, of the state of that wretched country. By a letter of the 3d of Decr. from our consul at Bordeaux, I find that in behalf of the allies, by way of indemnity for restoring order in France & Europe generally, by the suppression of the late mov’ment of Boniparte, comprizing a vast additional sum to England on acct of spoliations since 1793., there is to be paid by her govt about 400.000.000. of dolrs, in 5 years. A copy of the treaty as publish’d is receiv’d, and will be republished here without delay. Return me genl Scotts letter after perusing it.

On the return of Ferdinand to Spain, the President appointed mr Erving minister to him, & instructed Mr Erving to state that he had objections to the recognition of Mr Onis of a personal nature, which induc’d a preference to the reception of another, but that if he asked it as a personal favor, Mr Onis would be receiv’d. This was finally done, in the Spanish mode, of doing business involving sentiment, rather adding, to preceding insults, than makin[g] reparation for them. There being however no justifiable reason for declining longer to restore the diplomatic intercourse, Onis was receiv’d. To this measure there were other considerations of weight. without it, no accomodation could be made with Spain, nor could any step of any kind, be taken with advantage, untill a fair experiment to obtain an accomodation was made. Shortly after his reception he demanded 1st the restitution of west Florida, 2. the apprehention of Toledo, Humbert & others, leaders of the spanish patriots, their trial & punishment. 3d the exclusion of the flags of Bunoz Ayres Carthagena &ca from the ports of the U States. There were two modes of replying to his letters, one by confining the answer strictly to a defense of the conduct of the govt, the other by tak[ing] a review of the conduct of Spain for many years past, shewing that by spoliations, the suppression of the deposit at N Orleans, &ca, she had merited & invited war, which, had not this govt, indulged feelings of moderation, would probably have been adopted. The latter was preferr’d, in [executing?]1 which, the surrender of W. Florida has been refused; the punishment of Toledo & others, their acts occurring beyond our jurisdiction, stated to be a case to which our laws do not extend; & that orders have been sometime since given to admit the vessels of all countries without regard to their flags, pirates excepted. The groun[d] taken in each instance, is believd to be solid, in regard to spain, and such as will be approved here, & satisfactory to the colonists; while a door is opend to the spanish govt, to settle our differences, by mutual cessions, amicably, to which, it is invited.

I am very respectfully & sincerely your friend

Jas Monroe

RC (DLC: TJ Papers, 206:36651); partially dated, with day of composition supplied from postmark and from Monroe’s endorsement of TJ’s 16 Jan. letter to him; edge chipped; endorsed by TJ as received 27 Jan. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to David Higginbotham, 28 Feb. 1816, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virga”; franked; postmarked Washington, 22 Jan.

Isaac Cox Barnet was a member of a three-person commission appointed in 1803 by Monroe and Robert R. Livingston and charged with the liquidation of claims related to the louisiana Purchase (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 33 vols.  Congress. Ser., 17 vols.  Pres. Ser., 6 vols. Retirement Ser., 1 vol.  Sec. of State Ser., 9 vols. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 4:569–70). The letter of the 3d of decr. from William Lee to Monroe (DNA: RG 59, CD, Bordeaux) enclosed a copy of the treaty of Paris, signed 20 Nov. 1815 (Connelly, Napoleonic France description begins Owen Connelly and others, eds., Historical Dictionary of Napoleonic France, 1799–1815, 1985 description ends , 382). A translation of the treaty appeared in the New York Commercial Advertiser, 18 Jan. 1816, and subsequently in other newspapers. For the recognition of Luis de Onís as Spanish minister plenipotentiary and the negotiations between the United States and Spain, see John C. A. Stagg, Borderlines in Borderlands: James Madison and the Spanish-American Frontier, 1776–1821 (2009), esp. 180–3.

1Word illegible.

Index Entries

  • Appleton, Thomas; consul at Leghorn search
  • Barnet, Isaac Cox; as claims commissioner search
  • Barnet, Isaac Cox; as consul search
  • Byrd, Mr.; farm manager for J. Monroe search
  • Delamotte, Mr.; seeks consulship at Le Havre search
  • Erving, George William; as minister plenipotentiary to Spain search
  • Ferdinand VII, king of Spain; U.S. diplomatic relations with search
  • France; political situation in search
  • grapes; vine cuttings search
  • Highland (J. Monroe’s Albemarle Co. estate); boundary dispute search
  • Humbert, Jean Joseph Amable; filibustering expedition of search
  • Indian Camp (W. Short’s Albemarle Co. estate); boundary dispute search
  • Jackson, Henry (1778–1840); as secretary of legation in Paris search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and Highland–Indian Camp boundary dispute search
  • Lee, William (1772–1840); consul at Bordeaux search
  • Livingston, Robert R.; and appointments search
  • Louisiana Territory; claims related to U.S. purchase of search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and appointments search
  • Monroe, James; and appointments search
  • Monroe, James; and Highland–Indian Camp boundary dispute search
  • Monroe, James; as secretary of state search
  • Monroe, James; letters from search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; defeated at Battle of Waterloo search
  • Onís y González Vara López y Gómez, Luis de; minister plenipotentiary of Spain search
  • Onís y González Vara López y Gómez, Luis de; negotiations with U.S. government search
  • Paris; Treaty of (1815) search
  • Richard (agricultural worker for J. Monroe) search
  • Scott, Winfield; on French political situation search
  • Short, William; and Indian Camp search
  • Spain; and U.S. search
  • Spain; and W. Fla. search
  • Toledo y Dubois, José Álvarez de; filibustering expedition of search
  • Waterloo, Battle of (1815) search
  • West Florida; Spain demands U.S. surrender of search
  • York, Mr.; as J. Monroe’s farm manager search