Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Tench Coxe, 21 June 1799

From Tench Coxe

Philada. June 21. 1799.

Dear Sir

I have the pleasure of your letter by Dr. B. and feel great pleasure at the partial measures, which you inform me have been taken. As much is done here for the time in the other parts of the affair as I expected, and no deficiency in any respect will take place on the part of the person here on that day that half of what you mention shall arrive. I wish Dr. B had brought Me three, or even one or two of the fives. It waits only for them—  I request that they may come directly, and that the necessary steps towards the end may be taken in other proper places.

We know little more than that the French fleet has proceeded towards Cadiz & the Streights; tho I believe more is known here.

The election of Mr. Mc.Kean is considered as promising—

A new republican paper at Hamburg in English and a new antirepublican paper at Altona also in English are about to be established.

The appearances of great excitement, preparation & designs among the Country powers of India are gathered from Hamburg papers of April 20 to 27.

The expectations of American & French Negociation at Hamburg on the 1st. May were great & confident—

The english severities against the Irish and the Irish retaliations on the friend[s] of the English in April were encreasing.

I have a letter of the 26th. April from Hamburg, which says that many of our vessels had arrived there safe, after being boarded by Fr. privateers.

Buonaparte seems to be in a course of steady & extensive establishment. He has discovered the ruins of an unknown City in the Desert—

The Spanish Affairs appear to be surging to a financial crisis, as you may gather from the paper of the 21st.—It is impossible too that they should not feel a disposition to diminish their grievances civil & ecclesiastical. It is probable the power of republican Spain will be brought into action in the present year.

There are to be two great republics in Italy: one of Rome & Naples. The other of Italy north of the old estates of the Church, except Piedmont, which joins France.

Letters from Gore in London, and from M. La Fayettes friends say he is coming out; and in a public Character, as is supposed.

The army of the US. it is said fills pretty fast in most places.

It is reported that the French been joined by the Spanish fleet at Cadiz, and it is said to be the accot. of the Agnes. This Movement of the French fleet is unexpected, and very hazardous. If they were to double back towards Ireland with the Spaniards it would be a serious affair. That or Toulon or the aid of Buonaparte seems to form the extent of their possible Objects.

It is singular that with accounts to the 1st. of May we have no account that the Russian German Army has been in any Action.

It seems that the British & Irish Union will be hazarded let the latter take it as they may. It is a serious trial of Irish prejudices, and proves the fears of a republican revolutionary convention there. Property in Ireland will not sell in London at this time.

There is something extraordinary in the affairs of Jourdan, Massena & Scherer with the Archduke, Hotz & Kray. I confess I am inclined to beleive that the Armies were as much affected by some unexplained political circumstances as by the military Events. It is very singular that we are informed that the King of Prussia guarrantees the neutrality of all Germany, which is paralyizing it, as to support of the British Turks & Russians.

The British Stocks wonderfully maintain their prices.

British Exch. here is at 11½ per cent discount on £147.1[0].0 Cy for £100 Stg and steadily so. No other bills, scarcely, sell. This proves that the English are keeping their Money here, and bring-out more—Our 8 per Ct. loan is 7 per discot. & steadily from 6 to 8 per Ct.—

The report of actions between Toussaint & Rigaud are not believed.

We do not hear of any political slips of the P. since his departure for Braintree. I think his nominations for F. had a most seasonable effect to discourage the hopes of our ultimately co-operating with the Enemies of the Fr. Republic—By subsequent accounts from Europe, it seems that it must have been critically important—The death of Mr. Henry is also a very important event: Since it has pleased God to dispense it.

The Pope is taken to Briançon in France, where also Genl. Mack has arrived.

These are the principal articles of current intelligence—I am dr. sir yr very respectf. & ob. st.

T. Coxe

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “June 22. 99,” indicating that Coxe wrote the text in two or more sittings; endorsed by TJ as received 11 July and so recorded in SJL.

Your letter by Dr. B.: William Bache delivered TJ’s letter to Coxe of 21 May. Person here: probably Ezekiel Foreman (see TJ to Coxe, 21 May).

I have a letter: Coxe received news of the safe arrival of American vessels at Hamburg from Henry Kleinwort, a merchant of that city, who also noted that improving relations between the United States and France had caused insurance premiums to decline to 12 percent (Kleinwort to Coxe, 26 Apr. 1799, in PHi: Coxe Family Papers).

On 16 Feb. Napoleon Bonaparte reported from Cairo that General Louis Charles Desaix was searching for the RUINS of Thebes. Setting out from Giza in August 1798, Desaix, with a small army, had pursued Murad Bey and the Mameluke forces as far south as Aswan (Philadelphia Aurora, 18 June 1799; Scott and Rothaus, Historical Dictionary description begins Samuel F. Scott and Barry Rothaus, eds., Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution, 1789–1799, Westport, Conn., 1985, 2 vols. description ends , 1:348; J. Christopher Herold, Bonaparte in Egypt [New York, 1962], 225–62; Chandler, Dictionary description begins David G. Chandler, Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars, [London, 1979] description ends , 119, 291, 294).

M. La Fayettes friends say he is coming out: on 20 June the Philadelphia Aurora reported that the Revolutionary War hero was expected to arrive in the United States during the next month. Three days earlier the same newspaper noted that an American agent in London (perhaps Christopher Gore, who was serving on the commission to settle American claims against the British under Article 7 of the Jay Treaty) had reported to his friends in Boston that Lafayette was coming to the United States as a minister of France. Letters from Boston Federalists signed “American Independence” appeared in Russell’s Gazette to warn the community that the French could not have sent “a more dangerous man” (J. Russell’s Gazette. Commercial and Political, 30 May, 3, 6 June 1799; King, Life, 3:37–40; Helen R. Pinkney, Christopher Gore: Federalist of Massachusetts, 1758–1827 [Waltham, Mass., 1969], 65–6).

For the arrival of the schooner Agnes in Philadelphia from Lisbon, see the Philadelphia Gazette, 22 June 1799.

In spite of anti-unionist sentiments expressed in resolutions passed in Dublin and debates in the Irish Parliament, George III signed the Act for the Union of Great Britain and Ireland on 2 July 1800 (Ehrman, Pitt description begins John Ehrman, The Younger Pitt: The Consuming Struggle, London, 1996 description ends , 170–94).

Affairs of Jourdan, Massena & Scherer with the Archduke, Hotz & Kray: General Jean Baptiste Jourdan returned to Paris after being defeated at Stockach on 25 Mch. by Archduke Charles of Austria. Immediately resuming his political career, on 13 Apr. Jourdan was elected deputy to the Council of Five Hundred. André Massena, commander of the Army of Helvetia, was reportedly defeated on 23 Mch. at Feldkirch, in western Austria, by General Friedrich Hotze. Massena had been generally successful, however, in thwarting the opposition and was building up French forces in Switzerland. In early 1799 General Barthelemy Schérer, former French minister of war, commanded the armies of Italy and Naples. On 5 Apr. he was defeated at Magnano by Austrian General Paul Kray. Schérer soon resigned his command and was charged with profiteering (Philadelphia Gazette, 26 June 1799; Scott and Rothaus, Historical Dictionary description begins Samuel F. Scott and Barry Rothaus, eds., Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution, 1789–1799, Westport, Conn., 1985, 2 vols. description ends , 1:512–13, 2:882–4; Chandler, Dictionary description begins David G. Chandler, Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars, [London, 1979] description ends , 227, 404; Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, 56 vols. [Berlin, 1967–71], 13:201–9).

Reports in early April indicated that to preserve German Neutrality King Frederick William III of Prussia, who did not join the Second Coalition, refused to allow the Russian army passage through Prussia (Philadelphia Gazette, 24 June 1799; Scott and Rothaus, Historical Dictionary description begins Samuel F. Scott and Barry Rothaus, eds., Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution, 1789–1799, Westport, Conn., 1985, 2 vols. description ends , 2:882–4; Palmer, Democratic Revolution description begins R. R. Palmer, The Age of the Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America, 1760–1800, Princeton, 1959–64, 2 vols. description ends , 2:433–5).

Accounts of the “bloody” engagements between Toussaint-Louverture and André RIGAUD, each reportedly commanding forces of about 50,000 men on Saint-Domingue, reached New York on 20 June and were published in the Philadelphia Gazette on 22 and 24 June.

News of the death of Patrick Henry on 6 June appeared in the Aurora on 20 June.

Following his eviction to Siena early in 1798, Pope Pius VI was confined at Florence. With the resumption of the war in Italy he was again moved, this time across the Alps into France, where he died at Valence in August 1799 (Edward E. Y. Hales, Revolution and Papacy, 1769–1846 [Garden City, N.Y., 1960], 114–15, 127–8; Philadelphia Gazette, 27 June 1799; Vol. 30:66–8).

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