James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Robertson, 11 November 1803 (Abstract)

§ From John Robertson

11 November 1803, Antwerp. Encloses (1) a “Triplicate of Mr. Barnet’s Accompt of Disbursments against the Ship Mac of Charleston and 9 Vouchers accompanying the same”;1 (2) a copy of Barnet’s account against the U.S. for $771.87 with three vouchers [not found]; (3) copies of Robertson’s letters to the minister of foreign relations and to the president of the tribunal of commerce of Antwerp;2 (4) a copy of Robertson’s 26 Sept. circular letter to U.S. consuls at Amsterdam and Rotterdam “relative to the late attempts of covering french Property”;3 and (5) a copy of his letter of 12 Oct. to the U.S. consul at Dunkirk with the reply.4 “By these last, You will observe, Sir, that I have taken upon my Self to Stop a passport from a pretended American Citizen who applied to this agency for an other, in doing which I was the more happy as I have since learned that three Englishmen have been arrested as Spies in Flushing with American or pretended American Passports. I am happy to say the Americans are duly respected in this Country, and am so persuaded the least indulgence or rather weakness, in a matter so important as that of Passports, should compromise the Protection they are entitled to, that I shall ever attend to it Scrupulously.

“The Dockyard commenced here in July last is now carried on with some activity. The Political horrison of this Country is still dark and menacing.” The French invasion of Great Britain “will most certainly be attempted, altho’ to this moment not appearing very probable.” Napoleon “will be again incessantly on the Coasts between Dunkerque and Boulogne where part of his Guards are already arrived,” and he is “expected to venture on this Descent personally.” “The Consequences, how terrible! What avails the progress of Science & Civilisation with men thus ready to destroy each other?” Looks with “envy and admiration at the humanity and wisdom which preside over the happy sons of Columbia among whom Humanity Peace & Happiness seem to have flown for Shelter.”

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