James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Rufus King, 28 January 1803 (Abstract)

§ From Rufus King

28 January 1803, London. No. 79. Reports that no further progress has been made in the boundary discussion. “From one or two Conversations that I have had with Colo. Barclay, who has returned to Town,1 I perceive that his opinion, whatever influence it may have, will be favourable to such a Settlement of the Eastern Boundary, as would be satisfactory to us. The chief difficulty … respects the Island of Campo-Bello, which to avoid questions of interfering Jurisdiction arising from its being to the westward of a suitable boundary Line, should belong to Massachusetts: if it should be ceded, I shall have no hesitation to agree to a confirmation of the Titles of the Settlers derived from Nova Scotia. But the Minister may hesitate about a cession.”

“Some weeks ago” Hawkesbury instructed the attorney general to begin the transfer of the Maryland bank stock to the king, who will dispose of it as he thinks fit; presumes the transfer will be made soon, “as Hilary Term2 has commenced.” Has recently seen the message of Governor Mercer to the Maryland General Assembly in the newspapers and encloses a copy of the letter the message prompted him to write to Mercer.3

In their last conversation regarding trade between the U.S. and the British West Indian colonies, Hawkesbury asked King to write a letter to be submitted to the cabinet. Encloses a copy.4 Has received no answer to his letter to Vansittart regarding the proposed increase in duty on spermaceti oil, a copy of which is enclosed, but Vansittart recently told him that unless opposition from the Board of Trade was stronger than expected, “the Treasury would be disposed to abandon the proposed increase.”5

“Herewith I also send you Copies of a Letter that I have received from the Prussian Envoy and of my Reply.6 My last Letter from the Department of State is from Mr. Brent, and dated August 23d.”7

Adds in a postscript, “At paris they say Victor will proceed with his Troops directly from Holland to Louisiana; here it is believed that the General with the Etat Major and a few Troops may go to Louisiana, but that the greater part of the Forces will be landed in St. Domingo.”

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