James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert R. Livingston, 11 December 1803

From Robert R. Livingston

No 92

Paris 11th December 1803

Dear Sir

I have not yet been honoured by any of your favors of later date than 29th of August.1 I informed you in my last of the reasons that would determine2 to give in the guarantee promised by Mr Monroe, & the rather as the delay of the arrival of the ratification, & the consequent disappointment in the money arrangements expected from it had increased the3 I had to contend with by my refusal. Mr Marbois Situation was rendered very unpleasant Since he had in consequence of what had passed between him & Mr Monroe assured the Consul that he could command the money when it should be found necessary. This together with the Sentiment you hold out in your letter of your wish that the money had been applied as the instructions directed determined me no longer to take upon myself the responsibility of a further refusal.

I have there fore joined in the guarantee & have delivered by the order of Hope & Baring the Sum of 8000,000.livre tournois in their bills to the Treasury. I have taken an assurance from this government that in case the Treaty Shall not be ratified they will repay the Sum with Six per Ct interest by monthly payments to commence two months after notice that the Treaty is not ratified.

Copies of these agreements4 will be forwarded either by this or the next conveyance. I have received a long letter from Mr Lear detailing the circumstances of the peace with the Emperor of Morocco: in consequence of which the two Frigates taken by our Squadron were delivered to him. I have also a letter from Commodore Prebble informing me that he has formed that blockade of Tripoli, & requesting me to inform this Government, & Ministers of other nations, that he will Send in for adjudication Such vessels as he may take going in.5 But as I believe we have not yet adopted this british law of nations I shall take no Step of this Sort without your order, but will write to Mr Lear on the Subject within whose jurisdiction it lays & who doubtless has the President’s instructions.

The determination of the Commissioners not to proceed till the arrival of the ratification gives me much uneasiness here & will have a very disagreable effect upon the execution of the Treaty by producing delays & difficulties with the french boards of which I Shall have no right to complain; & if the ratification Should not arrive it will add greatly to our difficulties in a new negotiation. Since I wrote the Count Azara has been removed, owing to some harsh things Said to the Prince of peace in his dispatches while his fate was uncertain; Mr Hervas a Banker here & father in law to Genl Duroc6 is appointed chargé des Affaires. He is much in the confidence of the Spanish Court, & has always transacted their money affairs here. He has just finished the Treaty for the Subsidy to be paid by Spain of which I have informed you.7 There is every reason to believe that England will acquiesce in this.

Enclosed is the Minister’s answer to my communication on the Subject of the Italian flag.8 He paid me a visit the night before last & told me that Genl Thureau was named Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States9 in the place of Mr Pichon & promised to Send me official information thereof, which however he has not yet done. Mr Petry will go as his Secretary of legation. One of the Ministers intimated to me that Jerome Bonaparte had applied to return to France in [one]10 of our frigates destined to bring out the treaty but [had]11 been refused which has not been well taken here.12 As I had heard nothing, I could Say nothing on the Subject but express my persuasion that the President would do every thing for his [ac]commodation which would [con]sist13 with his attention to [the] [im]partial14 neutrality that he had determine[d] to observe [as]15 the treaty has not give[n] much satisfaction to the politici[ans] of this country who think we have16 obtained great advantage in it I have been applied17 by one of the Ministers for permission to print my memoir as containing the reason[s] which influence[d] the government and which they think will convince the nation.18 I have consented provided it does not appear as an official paper from me but as one that is attri[bu]ted19 to me. I hope this will meet with your approbation. Of the affairs of Holland So very interesting to our merchants which I have Several times had the honor to mention to you, you Say nothing.20 I presume therefore that you either think their construction of our treaty right or have committed that business to other hands. I am very much of opinion that you Should have a Minister in holland or if there are objections, that Some other of your Ministers Should be accredited there & entitled to adress their Government when the State of affairs rendered this necessary. The first would be preferable at least during the war. Enclosed is a letter for [J:]21 Bonaparte which I pray you at the consuls particular request to have carefully for[ward]ed.22

Preparations for the descent are Still extremely active and the minister to the marine assured me yesterday upon his honor that the attempt would be made within [two]23 months I am [sure]24 he thinks so but I am not sure that he is in the secret. I have the honor to be Sir With the most respectful consideration Your most Obt hum: Servt

Robt R Livingston

Inclosed are my accounts for three quarters which will be found to agree with the bankers

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