James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from William Jarvis, 10 May 1803

From William Jarvis, 10 May 1803

⟨Lis⟩bon 10th. May 1803.


The last letter I had the honor to write to you on the 8th. Ulto. went by the Ship Hare, Capn. Worth via New York and inclosed my letter to the Minister relative to the residence of Mr. Snow in Macao & his answer. Since which I forwarded a letter from Mr. Pinckney by the Ship Swanwick, Captn. Hamilton and one from Mr. Simpson by the Ship President, Captn. Waiscoat via Baltimore and have Sent by post three dispatches from Government by the Way of New York to Mr. Pinckney. Inclosed is a copy of my letter of Yesterday’s date to the Minister for entire copies of the Documents of the Aurora and Four Sisters. A Paragraph in a late English Newspaper states the affair of the Mississipi to be settled by Mr. Livingston entirely to his satisfaction: I could have wished that information so highly interesting to our Country had come in a less questionable shape; but should it prove not to be the fact, I have no doubt the wishes in this respect of every friend to his Country will shortly be realized to the entire discomfiture and confusion of the enemies of the Government. We are still fluctuating between hope & fear relative to a continuance of Peace or a renewal of hostilities; at present the public mind appears to be in favor of the former in consequence of some observations that fell from Mr. Addington in a late [. . .] of Parliament.

A Crude report has been whisperd by the English of some difficulties existing between this Country & England & France relative to Macoa: it is said th⟨at⟩ this Government had by some secret negotiation co⟨nsented⟩ to give that place up to the French, which however coming to the knowledge of the British cabinet, ⟨was⟩ objected to: if this is a fact it accounts for the refu⟨sal⟩ to grant permission for Mr. Snow to reside there. As it cannot be traced to any tolerable unexception⟨al⟩ Source I have great doubts of it’s authenticity. I m⟨entioned⟩ it to one or two who ought to have known of it ⟨had⟩ it been a fact; but they disclaimed all knowledge ⟨of⟩ any such transaction and in such a manner as ⟨would⟩ lead me to believe they were sincere: it has been ⟨an⟩ occasional topic of conversation for 6 Weeks & has re⟨cently⟩ been revived.

The last Week Genl. Lannes sent ⟨a⟩ letter by his Servant to the Prince: the Servant ⟨going⟩ farther into the Court yard of the Palace than ⟨the⟩ etiquette of the Palace will allow and the attend⟨ant⟩ not receiving the Letter immediately he threw ⟨it on⟩ the pavement & rode off: after he was gone they p⟨icked⟩ the letter up and carried it to the Prince: it was expected that the Government would insist on the Servant’s being punished, but instead of that the thing has been entirely hushed up. The Intendant of the Custom-house has lately been changed, it is supposed at the desire of the General, but the Government has given him a much higher office and the title of Count. Since the ceremonial visit of the Ambassador & Don John de Almeida no personal communication has taken place between them; and it is understood that their reconciliation is not attended with much Cordiality. Was those bickerings to take place between the Ministers of powerful and great Nations I should view it as the forerunner of a Storm, that might be felt in the remotest Corners of Europe: but here the most that can be apprehended is the sacrifice of a Minister to satiate the Vengeance of the angry Deity. With the utmost respect, I am, Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant

William Jarvis

⟨PS⟩ Inclosed is the Copy of a letter recd. by to days post from Mr. OBrien.

W. J.

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