Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Monroe to Thomas Jefferson, 13 February 1818

From James Monroe

Washington Feby 13. 1818

Dear Sir

I enclose you a commission for Mr Sasserno, as consul for Nice, with a memo: from the dept of State, relating to its transmission to him, respecting which, we shall be happy to forward your views.

I enclose you also an extract from a1 letter of Mr Gallatin, relating to Mr Cathalan, which it is thought proper for you to See. There are other things said of him, which injure his standing in society, of which, you perhaps have heard. They impute to him a scandalous life, as to women, such as is deemd so, by all where he is. I shall take no Step for the present, nor do I wish to take any that you do not approve.

An indirect offer of her mediation, by G.B. in our differences with Spain is the only material circumstance, that has lately occurr’d in our foreign concerns—It was declin’d in a friendly manner, for reasons which I need not explain to you.

with great respect & esteem your friend & servant

James Monroe

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 17 Feb. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Daniel Brent to Monroe, State Department, 11 Feb. 1818, enclosing, at Monroe’s request, a packet for TJ (not found) containing “a sealed Despatch from this Department for Sasserno, with his Commission, Consular Inst[r]uctions &a &a which mr J. can send back, to be forwarded hence to Sasserno, with his own letter, if he chooses to write one to him”; and covering the second enclosure below, “which, it is understood, the President wishes also to transmit to mr Jefferson” (RC in DLC: TJ Papers, 212:37854–5; one word editorially corrected; addressed: “The President”). (2) Albert Gallatin to John Quincy Adams, Paris, 7 Oct. 1817, stating, in part, “that our Consul Mr Cathalan does not in any respect appear to interest himself sufficiently in behalf of our Citizens, whom their business brings to Marseilles. Whenever the French Government is concerned, he is much more a French Subject than an officer of the United States; and he is represented to me to be below mediocrity in point of understanding” (Tr in DLC: TJ Papers, 211:37663; extract in a clerk’s hand; endorsed by Brent: “Extract of a letter from Mr Gallatin to Mr Adams of October 7th 1817 in relation to Mr Cathalan, Consul of the U.S at Marseilles”).

On 27 Jan. 1818 Great Britain, through its resident minister, Charles Bagot, verbally offered her mediation in order to settle the disputes that had arisen between the United States and Spain. At a full meeting of the cabinet held four days later, Monroe and his colleagues decided to decline the proposal because “our controversies with Spain, though not of the first rank in importance, had a strong hold upon the popular sentiments; that to refer them to any interposition of a third party would certainly be disapproved by all parties in this country, and have the tendency to create ill will between this country and England, which we were very desirous of avoiding.” Secretary of State Adams passed along the cabinet’s decision during a personal interview with Bagot on 3 Feb. 1818 (Charles Francis Adams, ed., Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, comprising portions of his diary from 1795 to 1848 [1874–77], 4:48–52, quote on p. 51).

1Manuscript: “a a.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John Quincy; as secretary of state search
  • Bagot, Charles; British minister plenipotentiary to U.S. search
  • Brent, Daniel; as State Department clerk search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); alleged sexual misconduct of search
  • Cathalan, Stephen (Étienne) (1757–1819); as consul at Marseille search
  • Gallatin, Albert; and S. Cathalan search
  • Great Britain; and U.S. search
  • Monroe, James; and appointments search
  • Monroe, James; and S. Cathalan search
  • Monroe, James; letters from search
  • Monroe, James; on U.S. foreign relations search
  • Nice; U.S. consul at search
  • Sasserno, Joseph Victor Adolphus; consulship for search
  • Spain; and U.S. search
  • State Department, U.S.; and consular appointments search
  • United States; and Great Britain search
  • United States; and Spain search