Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Monroe to Thomas Jefferson, 3 May 1820

From James Monroe

Washington May 3. 1820.

Dear Sir

We are still destind to have further trouble with Spain. It was hoped, that the minister lately arrivd, would have terminated every difficulty, but it appears that he has come to act the part of his predecessor, to make complaints, demand explanations, & report them to his government, who may take as many years to conclude another treaty, as they did the last. This minister admits, that there is no cause for his govt, to decline the ratification of the treaty, but insists that it shall be made dependant, not on the conditions containd in it, but a stipulation, that the U States will form no relations with the So A: Colonies, especially of recognition, untill they be recognized by other Colonies. I shall lay the correspondence before Congress, the latter end of this week.

I hope that your health is good, & that I shall be able to visit albemarle, soon after the adjournment1 of Congress, & to find you there. The contiguity of my farm in Loudoun, to this place, together with a desire to attend to its improv’ment; with a view to its sale, when good land will sell for any thing, to place me finally out of debt, with a moderate subsistence in Albemarle, will induce me to divide my time between the two places.

very sincerely your friend

James Monroe

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 6 May 1820 and so recorded in SJL.

Francisco Dionisio Vives, the Spanish envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the United States, had lately arrivd in Washington to replace his predecessor, Luis de Onís (Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 10 Apr. 1820; City of Washington Gazette, 10 Apr. 1820). Shortly thereafter the United States government began pressing Vives to conclude the as-yet-unratified Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819 (ASP, Foreign Relations, esp. 4:680–2). In 1802 the United States and Spain had signed their last treaty, which settled reparations between the two countries for ship seizures by Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, but it was not ratified until 1818 (Miller, Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and other International Acts of the United States of America, 1931–48, 8 vols. description ends , 2:492).

On this date Secretary of State John Quincy Adams informed Vives that the United States would make no promises about its relations with the South American colonies (ASP, Foreign Relations, 4:683). On 9 May 1820 Monroe presented Congress with correspondence concerning the ratification of the Adams-Onís Treaty dating from 27 Mar. 1819 (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States description ends , 13:503–5; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States description ends , 9:393–6).

1Manuscript: “adjourment.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John Quincy; as secretary of state search
  • Adams-Onís Treaty (1819); ratification of search
  • Congress, U.S.; and Adams-Onís Treaty (1819) search
  • Highland (J. Monroe’s Albemarle Co. estate); J. Monroe plans to visit search
  • Monroe, James; and U.S. foreign relations search
  • Monroe, James; finances of search
  • Monroe, James; letters from search
  • Monroe, James; plans to visit TJ search
  • Oak Hill (J. Monroe’s Loudoun Co. estate); sale of search
  • Onís y González Vara López y Gómez, Luis de; minister plenipotentiary of Spain search
  • South America; republics in search
  • Spain; and Adams-Onís Treaty (1819) search
  • Spain; and U.S. search
  • Spain; colonies of search
  • Spain; U.S. treaty with (1802) search
  • United States; and Spain search
  • Vives, Francisco Dionisio; minister plenipotentiary of Spain search