From Robert R. Livingston
Paris 28th. Octr 1802
Nothing very important having occured for some time past I have not thought it necessary to trouble you, particularly as I conclude that you would for a time have quited the seat of government & sought repose from the fatigues of politicks. While the union between France & Russia subsists, the discontents which almost every nation in Europe feels to the extreme loftiness of the first, will be suppressed. but as fear & not affection occasion the suppression, they are ready to break out on the first favourable moment. many think that moment not very distant. Great changes have taken place in the administration, Woronzoff is known to be inclined to Britain, & I find that the change occasions considerable sensation here, not only among the foreign Ministers but among those of France. one effect of it has been the preparing to send off Andreosi who has hitherto been retained till lord Witworth arrived, even tho’ formal notice had long since been given that he was to go in eight days. Britain is seriously dissatisfied, & indeed has some reason to complain. several of her vessels which put in here (as is said by stress of weather) having been detained, & Mr. Merrys representations treated with neglect. The affairs of Helvetia have also excited great uneasiness in England, where all parties seem to concur in wishing to oppose some barrier to the power of France. The british republicans are disgusted with the changes that have taken place here, while the royalists dread the stability that the government has assumed in the hands of the first consul. The mercantile & manufacturing interests who looked to peace for the renewal of the treaty of commerce from which they derived such advantages are sore at the severity with which their commerce is interdicted here. You will accordingly find by the british papers that both those of the majority, & minority teem with abuse on france & blow aloud the trumpet of discord.
By the treaty of Madrid you recollect that the reigning duke of Parma & placentia was to renounce them in favor of France, in consideration of which his heir was to have the kingdom of Etruria. This he has constantly refused to do, & has lately died without making any renunciation. The Spanish Ambassadeur here has been called upon to compleat the treaty. he replied that he had no powers, & general Bournonville has gone express to Spain to effect this object, the king of Etruria being now duke of parma. Whether he will prefer the crown he now holds to his hereditary dominions, I know not but I think he must submit to what is dictated here or risk the loss of both. The Mississippi business, tho’ all the officers are appointed and the army under orders, has met with a check. The army under orders is obstructed for the moment. events may possibly arise of which we may avail ourselves. I had two days ago a very interesting conversation with Joseph Bonaparte. having put into his hands a copy of the memoir on Louisania which I sent the secretary of State, I took occasion to tell him that the interest he had taken in settling the differences between our respective countries had entitled him to our confidence & that I should take the liberty to ask his advise in matters that were like to disturb the harmony that subsisted between our respective republicks. he seemed pleased at the compliment and told me that he would receive with pleasure any communication I could make but as he would not wish to appear to interfere with the Minister he begged my communication might be informal and unsigned exactly what I wished because I should act with less danger of committing myself & of course with more freedom. He added you must not however suppose my power to serve you greater than it actualy is my brother is his own counsellor but we are good brothers and he hears me with pleasure and as I have access to him at all times I have an opportunity of turning his attention to a particular subject that might otherwise be passed over. I then asked him whether he had read my notes on Louisiana he told me he had & that he had conversed upon the subject with the first Consul who he found had read them with attention that his brother had told him that he had nothing more at heart than to be upon the best terms with the U.S. I expressed to him my apprehentions of the jealousies that would naturally be excited from their vicinity & the impossibility of preventing abuses by1 a military government established at so great a distance from here.
Wishing to know with certainty whether the Floridas were excluded (which however I had pretty well assertained before), I told him that the only causes of difference that might arise between us being the debt and Louisiana I conceived that both might be happily & easily removed by making an exchange with Spain & returning them Louisiana retaing. New Orleans & giving the latter & the floridas for our debt.
He asked me whether We should prefer the Floridas to Louisiana. I told him that there was no comparison in their value but that we had no wish to extend our boundary across the Missisipi or give colour to the doubts that had been entertained of the moderation of our views. That all we sought was our security & not an extention of territory. He replied that he believed any new cession on the part of Spain would be extremely difficult that Spain had parted with Trinidad and Louisiana2 with great reluctance. I have however reason to think that Bournonville is instructed to effect this object not however with a view to my project but with intention to procure for France some port in the gulph from which they think they may secure their own & anoy the british commerce so that if we should contrary to our hopes make any bargain with them I fear that East Florida will not be included. However every thing is yet in air, & I doubt much considering the present state of things in Europe whether Spain will make any exchange that will give France a command of the gulph. Tho this is a favorite object with France she may not in the present state of things in Europe think it prudent to press too hard. It is time that she should acquire some character for moderation. I find your cypher extreamly difficult & laborious in the practice nor does it appear to me to have any advantage over that introduced into the office of foreign affairs which without being so intricate is equally secure & more easy in the use. I shall therefore pray you to send me by the first safe opportunity one constructed upon that principle, & in the mean time as my letters to you will not pass thru’ the office or thru’ my office when marked private, I will continue to use that I now have. I shall write on some other subjects to the secretary of state, to whom you will I presume deliver the letters relative to the disagreeable business between Mr Sumter & myself, which I have endeavoured as far as possible to keep from coming to extremities, but which no prudence or attention will prevent, where the secretary thinks he has a supporting interest at home. I have endeavoured agreeably to your advise to avail myself of every aid that I could draw from Mr Dupont whose dispositions towards us are very favourable but who is not, in the present state of things able to aid us so much as he would wish, having no personal interest with the first consul. Mr. King having written to me that he intended to be here (where he now is) and to come by the way of Holland & Switzerland, I postponed my intended visit to Britain & made a short excurtion to Holland having been only absent twenty days from here. I found upon inquiry that our merchants have great cause of complaint in the perception of duties (as I before mentioned to the secretary of State) & still greater from the most scandalous fraud in their private agents. The first of these demands the interposition of our government. I shall pray you to extend your permission to travel to Italy in the course of the next year, if the state of things should admit. I shall take care not to be absent long at a time, & never except in a season of the most perfect leasure. I send by a vessel going to Baltimore a packet containing an interesting work of Mr. Cabanis from the author to you & another to the philosophical society. The first consul is gone to Rouen & is to be back by the 18 brumaire. The British fear that he means to examine the coasts. The prospect of a rupture grows more serious I can tell you with certainty3 that a remonstrance in pretty strong terms has been presented by her minister on the subject of the consuls interference in the Affairs of Helvetia. How it will be received I know not, but I think it would not have been made if it had not been the intention of Britain to seek a quarrel—
I refer you to the secretary of State for information on our particular affairs, tho as this goes by the way of England I am fearful it will not be in my power to send my official dispatches by this conveyance, as I can not, in the present state of things think it proper, to avail myself of Mr. Sumters aid, and I have not yet supplied his place.4 I must just mention to you the memoire of Col: De Viene heretofore transmitted to the Secy of State, such is the distress of this poor family, consisting of himself, his wife & three children, that they have been compelled to pawn their clothing & must actualy have starved if I had not advanced about 15 guineas5 for which I have drawn on the government who will stop it from his pay, which I think they can not refuse to give him. If otherwise they must charge it to my private acct. Genl La fayettes situation demands the aid of our country. His debts amount to about 24000 $ & he6 has nothing but his wifes farm for his support. He was ready to sacrafice every thing for us & we owe him something effectual. I must pray you to get Mr. Randolph or some other leading member of Congress to patronize him. Our gratitude will do us honor abroad & not be unpopular at home. I have the honor to be dear Sir
with the most respectful essteem your most Obt Hum: Servt
Robt R. Livingston
29th. I have this moment made inquiries from one I can depend on—Remonstrances have been made but they are only verbal.7 No answer has been given—Andreosi goes this evening.—The other points of dispute as money, ships detained, &c. it is thought will not occasion a war tho no satisfaction is like to be soon given.
RC (DNA: RG 59, DD); below signature: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr president of the US”; written partially in code (see Ralph E. Weber, United States Diplomatic Codes and Ciphers, 1775–1938 [Chicago, 1979], 467–77; Vol. 36:208n); with interlinear decipherment in Jacob Wagner’s hand reproduced in italics; for italics that signify underlining rather than deciphered code, see notes 3–4 and 7; endorsed by TJ as received 9 Feb. 1803 and so recorded in SJL; endorsed by Wagner with notation “open Cypher.” Tr (DNA: RG 46, EPFR, 8th Cong., 1st sess.); consisting of a composite of extracts in two clerks’ hands, omitting some text; transmitted to the Senate in October 1803 (see TJ to the Senate, 17 Oct. 1803, and TJ to the Senate and the House of Representatives, 21 Oct. 1803); printed in asp, Foreign Relations, 2:525–6.
The GREAT CHANGES took place in Russia, where in September Emperor Alexander reorganized the government’s ministries. Count Aleksandr Romanovich Vorontsov (WORONZOFF) was the new foreign minister. His brother, Count Semen Romanovich Vorontsov, was the Russian minister in London (Hartley, Alexander I description begins Janet M. Hartley, Alexander I, London, 1994 description ends , 38, 42–3, 63, 65; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , 4:35n).
TO SEND OFF ANDREOSI: Bonaparte had named Antoine François Andréossy as French minister to Great Britain several months earlier, but Andréossy and his counterpart, Baron Charles Whitworth, the new British minister to France, had not yet taken up their posts (Jacques Henri-Robert, Dictionnaire des diplomates de Napoléon: Histoire et dictionnaire du corps diplomatique consulaire et impérial [Paris, 1990], 93–4; Tulard, Dictionnaire Napoléon description begins Jean Tulard, Dictionnaire Napoléon, Paris, 1987 description ends , 93; Vol. 37:481, 484n).
MR. MERRYS REPRESENTATIONS: Anthony Merry was acting as the British minister to France ad interim (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , 4:205n; Vol. 35:297n).
By a proclamation of 30 Sep., Bonaparte ordered the cantons of Switzerland—HELVETIA—to send deputies for an assembly in Paris. Christopher Gore reported to Madison from London that the British government, viewing Bonaparte’s action as “a new evidence of the disposition of France to assume the command of all the Nations of Europe,” was determined “to resist the interference of the first Consul in the affairs of Switzerland.” Britain stopped reducing the size of its armed forces and halted the return of territories to France under the terms of the Amiens peace (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , 4:33, 34n, 144, 208).
Under the Treaty of Aranjuez between Spain and France in 1801, the northern Italian duchy of PARMA ceased to exist. The French government put Médéric Louis Élie Moreau de St. Méry, who had left Philadelphia for France in 1798, in charge of the French occupation of Parma and Piacenza (PLACENTIA), but the duke of Parma, Ferdinando Borbone Parma, refused to abdicate. Biding his time until Ferdinando died on 9 Oct. 1802, Bonaparte then made Moreau de St. Méry adminstrateur général of the region. Ferdinando was a brother of Queen María Luisa of Spain. By the terms of the Aranjuez treaty, France had made Ferdinando’s son Louis, who was also the son-in-law of María Luisa and Carlos IV, king of the new state of ETRURIA (same, 4:111n; Parry, Consolidated Treaty Series description begins Clive Parry, ed., The Consolidated Treaty Series, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., 1969–81, 231 vols. description ends , 56:45–9; Tulard, Dictionnaire Napoléon description begins Jean Tulard, Dictionnaire Napoléon, Paris, 1987 description ends , 1199–1200; Roberto Lasagni, Dizionario Biografico dei Parmigiani, 4 vols. [Parma, 1999], 1:630–4; Douglas Hilt, The Troubled Trinity: Godoy and the Spanish Monarchs [Tuscaloosa, Ala., 1987], 113).
GENERAL BOURNONVILLE: in September, the Marquis de Beurnonville became the French ambassador to Spain. He had completed a diplomatic mission to Berlin, and previously had attained the rank of lieutenant general in the army (Tulard, Dictionnaire Napoléon description begins Jean Tulard, Dictionnaire Napoléon, Paris, 1987 description ends , 212).
MEMOIR ON LOUISANIA: in August, Livingston wrote a long essay on the question “Whether it will be advantageous to France to take possession of Louisiana.” He answered in the negative, arguing that holding Louisiana would drain resources, prove of no economic benefit to France, and push the United States into an alliance with Britain. Livingston recommended “a cession of New Orleans to the United States,” with France reserving the right of entry, paying the same duties as American ships, and the right to navigate the Mississippi River. After having 20 copies of the essay printed, he distributed them to Talleyrand and “such hands as I think will best serve our purposes” (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , 3:468, 470n; ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Foreign Relations, 2:520–4).
INTEREST HE HAD TAKEN IN SETTLING THE DIFFERENCES: Joseph Bonaparte participated in the negotiation of the Convention of 1800 between the United States and France, and his estate at Môrtefontaine was the site of the ceremony to commemorate the pact’s signing (Vol. 32:159n).
APPEAR TO INTERFERE WITH THE MINISTER: that is, with Talleyrand.
The expected DEBT of France to the United States was for spoliation claims under the Convention of 1800 (Vol. 37:418).
Spain had to cede the island of TRINIDAD to Great Britain under the terms of the Amiens treaty, which obliged the British to return most other captured territory to France and its allies (Parry, Consolidated Treaty Series description begins Clive Parry, ed., The Consolidated Treaty Series, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., 1969–81, 231 vols. description ends , 56:292).
YOUR CYPHER: the transposition cipher designed by Robert Patterson that TJ sent to Livingston in April (Vol. 37:263, 267–77). ONE CONSTRUCTED UPON THAT PRINCIPLE: that is, a code that substituted sequences of digits for syllables and words, similar to the one that Livingston used in this letter.
SHALL WRITE . . . TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE: Livingston wrote to Madison on 2 Nov. He discussed the small prospect of France paying the money owed to the United States, the claims of John Rodgers and William Davidson over their detention in Saint-Domingue, Livingston’s relations with Talleyrand, and some subjects from the letter printed above (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , 4:76–82).
Livingston had advised Madison in July that the Batavian government was allowing the Dutch West India Company to add DUTIES on goods from the United States, even though American merchants were supposed to pay no more in duties than their European counterparts. In his letter to Madison of 2 Nov., Livingston reported that he had found on his recent visit to Holland “that our Merchants had been uniformly defrauded out of much greater Sums by the Dutch mercantile agents that they employ as their Consignees—who have very generally charged the duties upon the war prices when in fact the Government only received them on the average peace prices” (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , 3:367; 4:79).
Earlier in the year when Livingston asked PERMISSION for a trip to England, Madison replied that TJ consented, leaving “the time and the duration of your absence to your own judgment, assuring himself that both will be in due subordination to the important duties of your station” (same, 3:177).
GONE TO ROUEN: Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte left Paris on 28 Oct. on an official tour that included Rouen, Le Havre, Dieppe, and other cities. The first consul was away from Paris until mid-November (Thierry Lentz, Le Grand Consulat, 1799–1804 [Paris, 1999], 454; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , 4:86n).
The British REMONSTRANCE was, according to Rufus King, “a verbal insinuation” by Anthony Merry to the French government that George III would not view French interference in Switzerland “with indifference” (same, 4:144).
MEMOIRE OF COL: DE VIENE: in July, Livingston forwarded to Madison a memorial addressed to the president and members of Congress by the Marquis de Vienne asking for compensation for his service on behalf of the United States during the American Revolution. Livingston brought the matter up again in a letter to Madison on 2 Nov. “The case of Mr. De Vienne is wholly beyond the compass of the Executive authority,” Madison wrote Livingston on 15 Oct. Vienne’s claim later came before the House of Representatives (undated memorial in DNA: RG 59, DD; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , 3:366, 368n; 4:25, 80).
1. Livingston wrote “in” at the foot of a page and “by” at the start of the next page. Tr: “in.”
2. Word supplied from Tr. MS: “ui ret an ni,” which is Wagner’s correct decipherment of what Livingston wrote in code. Preceding those syllables there is an element that Wagner could not decipher because it does not appear in the code.
3. Word interlined, not coded, in MS.
4. Italics in the preceding sentence signify underlining, not code.
5. Word abbreviated in MS (“guns.”).
6. MS: “his.”
7. Word underlined, not coded, in MS.