Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Monroe to Thomas Jefferson, 23 August 1820

From James Monroe

Augt 23. 1820.

Dear Sir

I return you the extract which you were so kind as to give me the perusal of, with an assurance of my thorough conviction that it cannot fail to have a good effect. The sentiments expressd in favor of an American interest & policy, extended in the first instance to the preservation of order, along our coast, & in our seas, are sound, and will in all probability ripen into a system, at no distant period. The destiny however of this western world depends on the continued prosperity & success of this portion of it. If the European, has more wisdom & energy, than the African, or Asiatick, I am satisfied that the citizens of this Republick, have in like proportion, more, & for the same causes, than the inhabitants of any other portion of this hemisphere, not excepting those, or their descendants, who emigrated from other countries, than that, from which we took our origin.

The only danger attending a close connection with Portugal, or rather1 Brazil, is that which I suggested to you yesterday. Our union at this time against pirates, would be represented, by some, as an union, against the Colonies, since unfortunately all the piracies, if not connivd at by them, as I verily believe they are not, proceed from that quarter. Portugal would of course turn it to her account in that way, using it as an instrument to prop her up against a revol[u]tionary movment, which must overwhel[m] her with the others. The project of such an union will produce, as I presume, a good effect with the present govt of Brazil, but it can never take effect with any but the revolutionary govts, of So America.

very respectfully & affectionately yours

James Monroe

RC (DLC); edge torn; endorsed by TJ as received 23 Aug. 1820 and so recorded (with the additional notation: “Highlands”) in SJL. Enclosure: extract from TJ to William Short, 4 Aug. 1820.

1Manuscript: “tather.”

Index Entries

  • Brazil; relations with Portugal search
  • Monroe, James; and Monroe Doctrine search
  • Monroe, James; and South American affairs search
  • Monroe, James; letters from search
  • Monroe, James; racial theories of search
  • Monroe Doctrine; origins of search
  • Portugal; and Brazil search
  • Portugal; and U.S. search
  • South America; piracy in search
  • South America; republics in search
  • United States; and Monroe Doctrine search
  • United States; and Portugal search
  • United States; and South American republics search