James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from John Graham, 8 February 1803 (Abstract)

§ From John Graham

8 February 1803, Madrid. Acknowledged receipt on 1 Feb. of JM’s 25 Oct., 27 Nov., and 1 Dec. dispatches for Pinckney. Will meet Pinckney at Aranjuez with the dispatches, “sensible that not a moment ought to be lost” in obtaining a royal order countermanding that of the intendant of New Orleans, which he sees by the newspapers “has engaged the attention of Congress, & drawn a very solemn address from the Legislature of Kentucky.”1 A postscript to his 1 Feb. letter informed JM of Pinckney’s arrival at Cartagena, before which he had followed JM’s directions and addressed the enclosed letters to Cevallos.2 Has received no answer to them and expects none, as the government knows Pinckney will arrive soon. Encloses the latest order of the board of health relative to U.S. vessels, which, “altho’ severe, is far less rigorous than the former.”3 Kirkpatrick sent the enclosed printed paper [not found] by the last post, which he forwards, believing “it will be necessary for our Merchants to obtain the Consular Certificates therein pointed out, for all Articles which they may ship to this Country.”4 Although U.S. trade does not make such a regulation necessary or expedient, Americans probably should not expect exemption since the order is general. “It would at least be imprudent in our Merchants to calculate upon it.” The government rigorously enforces its customhouse regulations. A French ship, taken recently as a smuggler, was “immediately seized & confiscated, & the Captain & Crew, I beli[e]ve, sent to confinement.” All provisions of the treaty between France and Spain not having been attended to in the investigation of the affair, “it is said to have occasioned a warm altercation between the Ministry & the French Ambassador, so much so, that each party has sent off an Express to Paris.” The incident, if true, will probably stop negotiations over the Floridas. Whether Spain expects to get Louisiana back in exchange for the Floridas or to obtain Parma and Piacenza for the king of Etruria is not known.5 Spain would find the former more agreeable and France the latter. Adds in a postscript that a 2 Feb. letter from Kirkpatrick contains a report that Algiers has declared war on France. “I should rather suppose that this cannot be true.”

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