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To James Madison from Jacob Barker, 12 May 1812

From Jacob Barker

New York 5th Mo. 12. 1812

Esteemed friend

By this mail I send the sundry newspapers recd. pr. Ship Pacific from Liverpool by which it may be observed that the non importation Law presses very hard upon Great Britain which with the severe operation of the Embargo on account of the scarcity of Bread and her other difficulties will be likely to increase the Current against the present Ministry of that nation beyond their power to withstand if they do not repeal the Orders in Council. The renewal of the Charter of the East India Company appears to be determined on which will increase the discontent among the Merchants. Those Considerations give the friends of the Administration great reason to hope that the Messenger Ruff to Foster who left London the 10th Ulto. would bring power to that minister if it had not before been forwarded to repeal the Orders in Council.1 The accounts on which we bottomed our hopes of Such an honorable termination of our difficulties had scarcely become public when the Mail arrived with Senator Popes proposition to rescind the declaration of our independence2 which has cast a gloom over the whole City. With Esteem I am thy assured friend

Jacob Barker

RC (DLC). Incorrectly docketed by JM, “May 5 1812.”

1Foster received six sets of instructions from Lord Castlereagh, dated 10 and 17 Apr. 1812, on 25 May. With the exception of some partial modifications to the license trade, none of these instructions made any concessions to JM’s demands for the removal of the orders in council, and they repeated at length British arguments to the effect that France had not yet repealed the Berlin and Milan decrees (see Foster to Castlereagh, 26 May 1812 [PRO: Foreign Office, ser. 5, vol. 86]; for the instructions, see Mayo, Instructions to British Ministers description begins Bernard Mayo, ed., Instructions to British Ministers to the United States, 1791–1812, Annual Report of the American Historical Association of the Year 1936, vol. 3 (Washington, 1941). description ends , PP. 353–72).

2Barker was referring to John Pope’s motion of 8 May 1812 for a committee to consider the repeal of Macon’s Bill No. 2, JM’s 2 Nov. 1810 proclamation, and the law of 2 Mar. 1811—measures that had provided the legal basis for the enforcement of nonintercourse against Great Britain. In offering this motion Pope was calling on the administration to make “a disavowal of the arrangement” established with France on 2 Nov. 1810 on the grounds that the French government, by failing to make compensation for American property seized under the Rambouillet decree and by continuing to obstruct American trade, was behaving in ways that were disrespectful and derogatory to the U.S. Many Americans, Pope further pointed out, had legitimately purchased British goods under the expectation of a change in relations with that nation, and he argued that these purchases should now be admitted as imports in order to protect American merchants and to obtain additional revenues and supplies for the impending war. The Senate defeated the motion on 12 May (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 12th Cong., 1st sess., 237, 238, 239).

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