James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Frederick Jacob Wichelhausen, 12 June 1803 (Abstract)

§ From Frederick Jacob Wichelhausen

12 June 1803, Bremen. Refers JM to his last letter of 7 Mar.,1 in which he enclosed “the usual semi-annual list.” Acknowledges receipt of the laws of the first session of the Seventh Congress and JM’s circular letter of 9 Apr.,2 to which he will “return a full answer” with his next semiannual report. The renewal of war between France and Great Britain “has caused the greatest alterations in the Electorate of Hannover.” “As part of said Electorate the Dukedom of Bremen … nearly surrounds this city, I think it my duty to give you some information respecting the entering of the french troops into this country.” General Mortier3 entered Hanover with about 20,000 men on 28 May and was in possession within fourteen days. The French accomplished this without violating the neutrality of the city of Bremen but “with much difficulty and with much loss of time.” This action “caused the greatest pleasure amongst the inhabitants of this city.” Encloses a copy of Mortier’s demands on the citizens,4 which “caused the greatest consternation again, amongst the whole commercial body of this city.” “The demands were unanimously rejected by the assembled Senate and citizens of bremen, as inconsistent with their neutrality,” and they hope that “the reasons alledged to in their answer, will be considered as sufficient by the french Government, to withdraw at least the demand respecting the british property in this city.” Apprehends that British navigation on the Elbe and Weser Rivers will be entirely stopped by the French. Four British merchant ships that arrived in the Weser “a few days ago” turned back when they heard of the French advance. Will not fail to inform JM of any future events.

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