Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 11 September 1802

From James Madison

Sepr. 11. 1802

Dear Sir

Yours of the 10th. is duly recd. I answered by duplicates Mr. Sumter’s resignation as soon as it had been submitted to you. Mr. Livingston’s request that he may appt. a successor has not yet been answered. It is probable he will expect to know your determination in the first letter that may be written to him. The blanks of which Mr. Brent reminded you, came to me from you some time ago, and were sent on to him with my signature.

You will receive herewith two letters from Mr Livingston of May 28, & June 8th. and one from Mr. King of June 20th. I am glad to find that Otto is to share in the negociations concerning Louisiana, because it is probable he may retain the original policy of France on that subject, and because his destination to this country gives him an interest in a policy that will be welcome to us. The arrival of Dupont also will be very apropos. The reasoning of Mr. L. to the Spanish Minister, has a certain degree of force, but if not managed cautiously may commit us in other points of view.

We can not yet fix the day of our visit to Monticello. Yours as ever

James Madison

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received from the State Department on 12 Sep. and “Livingston’s & Kings’s dispatches” and so recorded in SJL.

LETTERS FROM MR LIVINGSTON: in a dispatch addressed to Madison on 28 May, Robert R. Livingston reported his supposition that the French expedition to take possession of Louisiana had been delayed by disagreement between France and Spain about whether the Floridas were to be included in the cession of Louisiana. Believing that under those circumstances the best course of action for the United States was to “alarm” Spain and provide information that could be useful to the Spanish government in opposing the claims of France, Livingston on 28 May wrote to José Nicolas de Azara, Spain’s minister to France. Livingston suggested to Azara that Spanish possession of the Floridas was required by Pinckney’s treaty, under which Spain was to control Indian tribes in the region, to allow only Spanish subjects and U.S. citizens to navigate the Mississippi except by special convention, and to guarantee U.S. citizens the right to deposit merchandise at New Orleans and export it free of duty. In a dispatch to Madison of 8 June, Livingston enclosed Azara’s answer, which stated the Spanish diplomat’s opinion that the Floridas were not part of the territory ceded to France. Livingston also reported that when he pressed Talleyrand for information about the Louisiana transfer, Talleyrand said that Louis Guillaume Otto, who was intended to be the next French minister to the United States, would soon be in Paris and would be able to discuss the Louisiana issue with Livingston (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , 3:264–6, 289–91).

Writing to Madison on 20 June, Rufus KING reported that he was prepared to complete the exchange of ratifications for the convention with Great Britain to settle claims covered by Article 6 of the Jay Treaty, and that the commission handling claims under Article 7 was proceeding with its work. King also reported that the British had postponed taking any action on their countervailing duties until they could be more certain of the intentions of Congress regarding the discriminating duties of the U.S. (same, 328–9; TJ to the Senate, 29 Mch. 1802; Edward Livingston to TJ, 2 Apr.).

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