Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Carlos IV, King of Spain, 14 October 1804

To Carlos IV, King of Spain

Great and Good Friend,

Desirous of improving and perpetuating by every arrangement, calculated for mutual advantage, the good correspondence which so happily prevails between the United States and Spain, I have for this purpose given full powers to James Monroe, lately Governor of the State of Virginia, who repairs to Madrid in the character of Minister Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. The special objects with which he is charged are regarded as intimately connected with the welfare of the two nations, and will evince the disposition of the United States to consolidate their amicable relations with Spain. From the knowledge I have of the fidelity, probity and just views of this distinguished citizen, I have entire confidence that he will render himself acceptable to you in this charge. I beseech you therefore to give full credence to whatever he shall say to you on the part of the United States, and most of all when he shall assure you of our friendship and wishes for the prosperity of Spain.

And I pray God to Have you, Great and Good Friend, in his safe and holy keeping.

Written at the City of Washington the Fourteenth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred and four.

Th: Jefferson

RC (NjP); in a clerk’s hand, signed by TJ; below signature: “By the President,” signed by Madison as secretary of state; at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson President of the United States of America, To His Majesty Don Carlos by the Grace of God King of Castile, of Leon, of Arragon, of the two Sicilies, of Jerusalem, of Navarre, of Granada, of Toledo, of Valencia, of Galicia, of Mallorca, of Seville, of Sardinia, of Cordova, of Corcega, of Murcia, of Jaen, of the Algarves, of Algecira, of Gibraltar, of the Canary Islands, of the East and West Indies, of the Islands and main Land, of the ocean,—Arch Duke of Austria, Duke of Burgoña, of Brabant and of Milan, Count of Apsburg, of Flanders, of Tirol, and of Barcelona, Lord of Biscay and Molina &c”; addressed: “To Our Great and Good Friend, His Catholic Majesty”; with seal of the United States. RC (ViW); in a clerk’s hand, signed by TJ and Madison, with seal of the United States. FC (DNA: RG 59, Credences). Not recorded in SJL.

special objects: the administration had previously instructed Monroe to negotiate a convention that would establish the Perdido River as the eastern boundary of Louisiana, acquire the Floridas for a sum up to two million dollars, establish a neutral zone in Texas, and settle claims not covered under the convention of 1802. In a letter of 26 Oct. to Monroe, Madison enclosed the letter of credence printed above, Monroe’s commission, and Charles Pinckney’s letter of recall of 12 Oct. Madison advised Monroe to adopt a less aggressive posture regarding the western boundary of Louisiana and instructed him to reject the conditions Spain demanded for ratifying the 1802 convention. In pursuing American claims against spoliations, particularly those conducted by French ships sailing into Spanish ports, Monroe was to feel free to set the convention aside and work out a new agreement. Monroe, however, did not receive Madison’s letter until after presenting himself on 13 Jan. 1805 to Carlos IV, to whom he gave an earlier letter of credence requesting acceptance of a joint mission with Pinckney. The two diplomats acted in concert throughout Monroe’s stay in Spain (FC of Monroe’s commission in DNA: RG 59, Credences; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 7:51-61, 430-2; 8:218-25; Monroe, Papers description begins Daniel Preston, ed., The Papers of James Monroe, Westport, Conn., 2003- , 6 vols. description ends , 5:215-21, 265-9, 296; Vol. 39:498-9; Vol. 42:504-5; List of Letters Received from Carlos Martínez de Irujo, printed at 25 Sep.).

After the Senate approved Monroe’s nomination, the administration issued a new commission, dated 22 Nov. (FC in NNPM; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Jefferson and Madison).

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