James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Monroe, 26 September 1796

From James Monroe

Paris Sepr 26. 1796.

Dear Sir

The state of affrs. remains nearly the same since my last: except that upon the Rhine or rather in the intr. of Germany since the check of Jourdan or perhaps complete defeat & wh. I rather presume, the progress is impeded, & in Italy Bounaparte has gained another victory taking 5000. prisoners & driving Wurmser into Mantua where he is closely besieged. I think I mentioned to you in my last that he had just before taken 16000. & that Bournonville was on his rout from Holland at the head of 25000 men to join & supersede Jourdan.

I have answered Tim’s letter refuting what he says by argument and leaving it so.1 He has also wrote an insolent letter to Skipwith2 and which he has answered with force and contemptuous defiance. Fulton also has written also a commentary upon the publication in the New York paper which he intends for Bache’s paper and which is harsh3 he says the presumed letter from Paris is a forgery—that he never received it nor was it written to him—and the other letter to which it refers and which was intended to quiet the western people from the knowledge he had of that I was doing everything in my power to serve them was purloined from the post office as he presumes by Tim. Skipwith sends the letters from Berlin respecting G. Morris for publication.4 I hope this scene of rascality will open the people’s eyes and rid you of that old tool and dotard for with him I presume the contest will be.

RC (DLC). Unsigned. Italicized words are those encoded by Monroe using the code that Jefferson had sent JM on 11 May 1785. Decoded interlinearly by JM.

1Monroe to Pickering, 10 Sept. 1796 (Hamilton, Writings of Monroe description begins Stanislaus Murray Hamilton, ed., The Writings of James Monroe … (7 vols.; New York and London, 1898–1903). description ends , 3:54–62).

2Pickering to Skipwith, 3 June 1796 (DNA: RG 59, Diplomatic and Consular Instructions). No reply from Skipwith can be located in the consular dispatches from Paris.

3See Monroe to JM, 19 Sept. 1796, n. 2. On 2 Dec. the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser published a vituperative attack on Noah Webster, describing him as the “jackall of a British faction” who was endeavoring to undermine republicanism by pursuing “nothing less than a rupture with the French Republic.”

4See Monroe to JM, 1 Sept. 1796, and n. 6. “Extracts of Letters, Dated Berlin, the beginning of August 1796” appeared in the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser on 29 Nov. These described Gouverneur Morris as living in magnificent style in Berlin and depicted him as a British agent.

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