James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Fulwar Skipwith, 20 November 1802 (Abstract)

§ From Fulwar Skipwith

20 November 1802, Paris. “The papers accompanying this1 were left with me by Mr. Clarke, three days ago on his departure from hence for London, with a desire that I should transmit them under cover to you by the American Ship Plow-boy about to sail from Bordeaux for Philadelphia. Mr Clarke, who, I have some reason to suppose is personally known to you, remained a fortnight in Paris … in great intimacy, with the Chiefs of the expedition said to be destined for Louisiana. I introduced him to Mr. Livingston the day on which he had his first interview with the Prefet, Laussat,2 and the General, Victor; he communicated verbally the conversations which passed between him & those two personages, and I believe the minister found them interesting enough to make them a subject of a dispatch to you on the same day.3 … It would be my wish that the papers themselves should be conveyed through the same channel to you, but … Mr. Clarke confided them to me under the express injunction of my forwarding them in the manner I have before mentioned.

“The information contained in Mr. Clarkes letter to Genl. Victor, I know, has been submited to the first Consul—in as much as it is from a source highly respected by both the Prefet & the General,… I consider it well calculated, combined with the intelligence which has just arrived of the discouraging state of french affairs in St. Domingo, to procrastinate the sailing of any expedition for Louisiana—indeed it is confidentially told to me to day that the destination of the one nearly prepared in Holland for that Country is changed.”

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