James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert R. Livingston, 12 May 1802

From Robert R. Livingston

No. 13.

Paris 12th. May 1802

Dear Sir

I have only to add to my last that as I conjectured the Consul has rejected the continuance of his term for ten yrs Upon the ground of his having recd his office from the people they only can add to it. The Council of State have in consequence referred it to the people to determine not whether he shall be consul for ten years but for life. This business creates not the least sensation here Nor would it if by a decree of the Senate he was declared emperor of the Gauls. The people are perfectly dead to political objects & alive only to pleasure & the means of procuring it. The mode in which the sense of the people is to be taken (being similar to that by which the constitution was adopted) will insure its success even if any opposition—which is not probable—might otherwise have arisen.

The next step (& indeed I now think a necessary one) will be to fix the succession. Here there is some difficulty. Joseph Bonaparte the elder brother is very unambitious — Lucian the 2d will hardly stick at any thing & it is said that his elder brother is fearful of being the only obstacle to his succession. The Consul wishes Louis who has married Madam Bonaparte[’s] daughter who is now pregnant. Should she have a son reasons which I do not explain will if possible point the succession to him. Be however prepared to see a new dinasti esstablished in the present family & the old forms as much as possible restored. A house of lords or at least a pe[e]rage would be esstablished were it not for the difficulty of giving the wealth necessary to its support. I still however believe that Strings & Stars will eer long be found among the esstablishments of this Court.1 I have yet recd. no letters from you but those of Decr last.2 Mr. Sumter having determined to resign for reasons which I presume he will explain to the president3 I trust that the system of appointing Secretaries to the Legation in which there are obvious inconveniences will be laid asside & that I may be permitted to name one who shall be subject to my particular regulations I shall make no appointment in my own family nor any which the president shd not fully approve. I have the honor to be dear Sir with the highest essteem Your Most Obt &c

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