James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from William Short, 12 April 1809

From William Short

Madn. P. Ap. 12. [1809, Paris]—Wrote him 29h. ulto. (private)—first occasion—Armstrong’s [illegible] did not know—anxious he shd. know cause of delay as soon as the fact—disagreeable personally (on acct. of uncertainty) & particul[arl]y since mild weather & departure of Romf—Fortunate to find Romff. here & why1—first interview—wishes me to see him often—acquaintance to ripen into friendp & confid. at P.—The Emp. & he both wish for relations with U. S. He had selected D.2 for that purpose—glad of the simultaneous appt. of a diplomat-grade.—Did not neglect the opening—found him liberal enlightened & well disposed to U. S.—do not state particulars on acct. of the conveyance, not knowing if vessel will be respected—He wishes to be informed as to our ideas of neutral rights &c.—gave him the pamphlet3—He seemed little acquainted with situation, views &c. of U. S.—Could not be ready before mid-Jany.—Ct. R. still here—departure uncertain—aviso daily expected—the six weeks or two months—soon after mid-feby. Rom. set out—then sure every day—he was acquainted with motives of delay & entered into them—Important to be here on arrival of his despatches—further instructions—how uneasy when see delay has been so long—Though important to be near R. had determined to leave him here if aviso had arrivd.—During the whole March expected every day Aviso as much as now, although the report by Turreau’s vessel, that one was ordered to sail for Armstrong—Situation in wh. I found negotiation here (& soon assured it cd. not produce peace) did away the cause of once wishing me to go direct to P—my mission made known here generally—perhaps excited some curiosity—but never obliged to be particular—followed his intention—Chy.4 never spoke to me of it in a way to be particular—he is absorbed in more pressing—R. mentioned it to E. & told me—will mention to him particulars by next occasion. Formerly mentd. presentation to E. will also state particulars by next—Arm [stron]g confined—saw him a good deal—unreserved with him as he desired—A’s manner invited to this—the cordiality wch. ought always to exist be⟨tween⟩ agents of same govt.—Leave general politics to him, & will take up no more time—a new war—reasoning as to future from past, it wd. be thought rapid victory—persons here where situation give weight to their opinion think otherwise.

Ms (DLC: Short Papers). An outline of a letter to JM which has not been found. From Short’s calendar of letters sent in 1809, arranged in double columns on separate sheets of paper.

1After Short’s arrival in Paris the American minister to France, General Armstrong, had told Count Romanzoff the nature of Short’s mission (Short to JM, 29 Nov. 1808 [DNA: RG 59, Diplomatic Despatches, Russia]). Romanzoff, whose presence in Paris afforded Short an unusual opportunity, told Armstrong an American mission to St. Petersburg cleared the way for shifting Russian commercial ties from Great Britain to America (Armstrong to JM, 24 Nov. 1808 [DNA: RG 59, Diplomatic Despatches, France]; Adams, History of the U.S., 5:30–31).

2André de Daschkoff.

3Probably JM’s own work, An Examination of the British Doctrine, Which Subjects to Capture a Neutral Trade, Not Open in Time of Peace (n.p., 1806). The work is reprinted in Madison, Writings (Hunt ed.) description begins Gaillard Hunt, ed., The Writings of James Madison (9 vols.; New York, 1900–1910). description ends , 7:204–375. Nothing could have been more logical than for JM to instruct Short to take copies of his pamphlet (which was issued without an author listed on the title page) to Europe and distribute the work as an unofficial explanation of the American position. The merits and flaws of the work are discussed in Perkins, Prologue to War, p. 43.

4Jean-Baptiste Nompère de Champagny, duc de Cadore, was the French foreign minister.

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