Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Monroe to Thomas Jefferson, 19 April 1821

From James Monroe

Washington April 19. 1821

Dear Sir

My absence from this city on a visit to my farm in Loudoun, prevented an earlier attention to your letter of the 8th, respecting the fund appropriated by the genl assembly at its last Session, for the use of the university, expected to be deriv’d from the settlement of the claims of the State, on the general government. I now enclose you a report on that subject, from the Secretary of war, & beg you to be assur’d, that I shall, with great interest & pleasure, do every thing in my power, which you could desire, to promote your object, & with the greatest despatch.

From Naples we have no recent intelligence. A strong hope is entertaind, that the armies sent against her, will rally under her Standard. Spain has written a circular, to her ministers with foreign govts, protesting against the doctrines containd in that from Troppau, in which she appears to make common cause with Naples. England would probably take the other side, if the paralizing effect, producd by the contest with the French, did not make it too hazardous an enterprise for the govt to under take. The reigning family in France finds itself in the same State, arising from causes less equivocal. Knowing that it does not possess the confidence of the nation, it will attempt nothing bold, externally and internally, it pursues a course, which daily weakens its real power, & hastens, according to my view of the Subject, a crisis, which promises to be more fatal to it, than the late one. The liberties of Europe, depend, at this moment, on very nice contingencies. The people generally Seem to be ripe for revolt, & to have acquird, in many parts, sufficient intelligence for self government. Should the attack on Naples succeed, it may put back a change for many years. But should it fail, whether by the repulse of the Austrian force, or its association with the neapolitan, & especially the latter, I should not be surprised to see the revolution extend to other countries, and at length become general.

A negotiation is depending with the minister of France here, for the regulation of our commerce with her European dominions, but there is no probability of a treaty being form’d, other than for the moment, & merely by way of experiment, for each party to see its effect, & no certainty, even of that. The French govt rejects the principle of equality in tonage duties, & will not give up the monopoly of the article of tobo, and is not accomodating on other points. It insists on a reduction of our duties on French silks, wines, & brandies, so as to give a preference to those articles from France, over like articles from other countries, while it is willing to place our produce, only on the footing of that of other countries, retaining to itself the right of imposing on each article, whatever duty it may deem expedient.

Respecting the fund for the university, I will write you again, as soon as it assumes a shape, to meet your object, to which I shall give all the aid in my power. In the mean time, I wish no answer, to this or any other letter of mine, seizing as I shall do with pleasure every opportunity which may offer, in which I may be useful or otherwise promote your views, and communicating occasionally such information respecting our affairs as may be interesting to you, without imposing the slightest tax on the tranquility of your retirment in return.

with great respect & esteem I am your friend & servant

James Monroe

RC (NNGL); endorsed by TJ as received 6 May 1821 and so recorded in SJL.

The enclosed report by Secretary of War John C. Calhoun was most likely a copy of the report and covering letter enclosed in William H. Crawford to TJ, 16 Apr. 1821.

A military uprising in July 1820 forced the ruler of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinand I, to establish a constitutional monarchy in Naples. However, within a few months of the signing in November 1820 of the troppau Protocol by Austria, Prussia, and Russia, which aimed at quelling democratic revolutions in Europe, Austrian forces invaded the kingdom, captured Naples, and restored Ferdinand to authoritarian rule (F. R. Bridge and Roger Bullen, The Great Powers and the European States System, 1814–1914 [2d ed., 2005], 44–8; George Holmes, ed., The Oxford History of Italy [1997], 186).

France’s minister to the United States, Jean Guillaume Hyde de Neuville, was in Washington, D.C., to negotiate a treaty of navigation and commerce with Secretary of State John Quincy Adams (ASP, Foreign Relations, 5:149–213; Miller, Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and other International Acts of the United States of America, 1931–48, 8 vols. description ends , 3:77–90).

Index Entries

  • Adams, John Quincy; as secretary of state search
  • alcohol; brandy search
  • Austria; and revolutions in Europe search
  • brandy; French search
  • Europe; revolutions in search
  • Ferdinand IV, king of Naples; and revolution in Naples search
  • France; and commerce search
  • France; political situation in search
  • Great Britain; and revolution in Naples search
  • Hyde de Neuville, Jean Guillaume; as French ambassador to U.S. search
  • Italy; and revolution in Naples search
  • Literary Fund; and loans for University of Virginia search
  • Literary Fund; and U.S. debt to Va. search
  • Monroe, James (1758–1831); and University of Virginia search
  • Monroe, James (1758–1831); letters from search
  • Naples, kingdom of (later Kingdom of the Two Sicilies); revolution in search
  • Prussia; and revolutions in Europe search
  • Russia; and revolutions in Europe search
  • silk; French search
  • Spain; and revolutions in Europe search
  • taxes; on wine search
  • textiles; silk search
  • tobacco; French duties on search
  • Troppau, Congress of search
  • United States; debt to Va. search
  • Virginia, University of; Administration and Financial Affairs; funding for search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; and General Assembly search
  • Virginia; General Assembly search
  • wine; French search