James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Carlos Martínez de Yrujo, 10 March 1803 (Abstract)

§ From Carlos Martínez de Yrujo

10 March 1803, Washington. When JM informed him last November that the port of New Orleans had been closed and no equivalent deposit for U.S. merchandise had been assigned—as the treaty between Charles IV and the U.S. stipulates—he declared his belief that the measure flowed solely from the mistaken zeal of the intendant without the approbation or knowledge of the Spanish court. He now declares most positively that Morales’s proclamation was a personal decision made without royal sanction or knowledge. If the proclamation had appeared in the U.S. in its entirety, no doubt would have existed about this. Encloses an entire and correct copy of the proclamation [not found], in which JM will see by the expressions Yrujo has underlined that the arrangement is absolutely personal and originated in powers Morales supposed he possessed. This assertion is not founded merely on inference; Morales declared it in the most direct terms in a 15 Jan. 1803 letter just received by Yrujo, and Salcedo solemnly confirmed it in another letter of the same date. Neither one disputes the right of citizens of the western states to a place of deposit on the Spanish banks of the Mississippi, but Morales thinks it incumbent on him to suspend the deposit as the three-year term allowed by treaty has expired and much prejudice to the royal interests has been experienced from the deposit in the city.1 Morales did not venture to assign an equivalent location, because he believed such an act exceeded his authority. Yrujo judges Salcedo’s view of the subject to be more correct and more favorable to the U.S. Since the suspension of the deposit is not a royal act and no one disputes the right of American citizens to the deposit, Yrujo will take it upon himself to give such orders as will allow Americans to secure complete enjoyment of the rights given them by article 22 of the treaty as soon as the dispatches he is forwarding under today’s date arrive at New Orleans.2

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