James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert R. Livingston, 15 February 1802

From Robert R. Livingston

No. 5

Paris 15th. Feby. 1802

Dear sir

Nothing extraordinary has occurred since my last. The definitive treaty is not yet signed. It is asserted some difficulties are started on account of reinstating France in her former commercial situation with respect to Turkey, the British claiming similar advantages in consequence of their last treaty.

It is also reported that Russia is not satisfied with the new order of things in the Italian Republic. These however are mere conjectures; the Ministers here of the powers that form the Congress deny that any thing of importance has intervened.

Of our own affairs you will judge by the enclosed notes.1 The case of the Pigou2 will I believe be settled as I wish, the Minister of Exterior having promised to give Mr. Waddel tomorrow a strong letter to the Minister of Marine3 upon whom I shall call and press the thing to a final issue. I am promised a speedy answer to the other notes. How the promise will be performed I know not for their financial embarrassments are as great as ever.

Mr. Sotin4 having been named commercial agent for Georgia—I have objected to his appointment, the nature and cause of my objections will appear by the note enclosed on that subject.5 I have not seen the Minister since so as to know his intention, but shall tomorrow—should he go you will judge how far it would be proper to grant him an Exequatur.

As to the affair of the commercial agents appointed from french Citizens I have received the final answer of Government informing me of their resolution not to grant them Exequaturs—so that there will be several vacancies to fill. I am very sorry to see Mr. Vailes place supplied. I have explained to him the mistake that occasioned it, and desired him to continue to act, in hopes that he may be replaced And some other provision made for Mr. Paterson. Nantes & St. Maloes are now vacant either of which would be more advantageous to a young Merchant than L’Orient where the whole commerce centers in the house of Vaile & Co.

I have heard nothing yet from Mr. Pinckny to whom I wrote by Mr. Graham. The conservative Senate have finished their illimination (as they call it) by which the principal opposers of Government are left out. A new question is now before them Viz. whether or not they shall elect out of the lists returned. Every thing is tranquil at present, & tho’ there is some discontent there is no appearance of its breaking out into action. Every body here pursue Literature or pleasure & few interest themselves so much in the politics of the Country, or find themselves so secure as to make them the subject of Conversation.

The Presidents Message and the report on the finances have raised us very high in the estimation of foreigners and I doubt not that we shall feel the effect of them in the migration to America of persons of property who wish to live at peace under a happy and tranquil government. Be pleased to send the Journals of Congress and interesting reports. As for Newspapers—not one reaches me from the public offices until they are 5 or 6 Months old—they are laid in a heap, I suppose, at the Custom houses and when they happen to be thought of or become so bulky as to be troublesome they are sent all together. Some precise order should be given to make up the packets weekly & to send them by every Ship destined for any port of France. I have the honor to be Dear sir, with the Most perfect Esteem & Consideration your. Mt. Obt. Hle. St.

Robt R Livingston.

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