To Wilson Cary Nicholas
Washington Oct. 25. 1801.
I take the benefit of your cover to get a safe conveyance for the inclosed. a copy of the ratification by the first Consul, of our convention, is arrived. it is expressed to be with an ‘understanding always that the matters which were the subject of the suppressed article are abandoned on both sides.’ altho’ I consider this as a superfluous caution, nothing being more settled than that things not provided for on a treaty of peace are abandoned, yet, as it is a sore circumstance to the merchants, I shall not proclaim the treaty, but leave it on the shoulders of the Senate to accept.—I think it probable mr King has signed a convention with England commuting the VIth. article of that treaty with £600,000. sterl. payable at 10. annual instalments. this however, being not yet certain, is for your own ear only. spoliations are still to be compensated to us. the banditti boats of Algesiras have lately committed very unwarrantable depredations on our commerce, which we are representing duly to their government. our suppression of the Portuguese mission arrived there fortunately 3. or 4. days only before a minister was to have come here. he was of course stopped. I begin to hope the transfer of Louisiana to France has not been definitively decided. the new census proves our increase to be in the compound ratio of 31/6 per cent annually & consequently that we double in 22. years 3. months. Accept my best affections & wishes for your health & happiness.
RC (NjP: Andre De Coppet Collection); at foot of text: “Colo. W. C. Nicholas”; endorsed. PrC (DLC). Enclosure: TJ to Burgess Griffin, 25 Oct. 1801, recorded in SJL but not found; see Nicholas to TJ, 30 Oct.
Rufus King had written to Madison from London on 24 Aug. to report progress in his discussions with Lord Hawkesbury about altering the means of settling British creditors’ claims covered by Article 6 of the Jay Treaty. The British government had agreed to the American proposal of £600,000 as a lump-sum settlement, and Hawkesbury and King were negotiating a convention between the two countries that would resolve the issue. Not until January 1802, however, would that convention be agreed on and signed (King, Life description begins Charles R. King, ed. The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King: Comprising His Letters, Private and Official, His Public Documents and His Speeches, New York, 1894–1900, 6 vols. description ends , 3:502–4; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins J. C. A. Stagg, ed., The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, Charlottesville, 1986–, 8 vols. description ends , 2:65; Vol. 34:323–7).
Portuguese Mission: in a letter of 16 Aug. received by the State Department on 24 Oct., William Loughton Smith wrote to Madison that he had informed the Portuguese government of his recall and forestalled the sending of a new minister to the U.S. (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins J. C. A. Stagg, ed., The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, Charlottesville, 1986–, 8 vols. description ends , 2:48).