James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 24 April 1804

To Thomas Jefferson

Washington Apl. 24. 1804.

Dear Sir

I reced. this morning your favor of the 17th. instant. Among the papers inclosed from N. Orleans is a copy of the Charter issued by Govr. Claibourne.1 From the date it appears to be prior to the Act of Congress, and not to be nullified thereby, unless the Act of Congress have a repealing effect. How far this may be the case, how far the authority of the Govr. may have been sufficient to grant such a charter, or how far it may be so to set it aside, are questions which will claim attention, but on which I am unwilling to say any thing to Govr. Claibourn without knowing your decisions on them. Mr. Gallatin in a private letter has expressed sentiments which I have no doubt will induce him to halt in his course if a halt can be made.2 If I add any thing officially it must be in very general terms.

I inclose herewith besides the letters from N. Orleans a letter from Mr. Livingston, one from Mr. Pinkney, one from Mr. Monroe and one from a Candidate for office at Baltimore, to which are added several private letters from Monroe, Mazzei & Claibourne.3

The letter from Pinkney with the communication to him from Cevallos shews that he was kept without notice of the relinquishment by H. C. M. of his opposition to the transfer of Lou[i]siana, from the 31st. of Decr. to the 10th. of Feby. The letter from Mazzei throws light on the ready & cordial interposition of the Emp[e]ror of Russia on behalf [of] the Frigate & Crew at Tripoli.

The Marquis d Yrujo left Washington two or three days ago, without calling on me either at the Office or at my House, and even with an Apology thro’ the Marchioness to Mrs. M. for not taking leave of her, from which he was precluded by what had passed between him & me.4 He & the Marchioness together called at the Houses of my Colleagues. From hints dropt, it would seem that he expects to be sent to London, where an opening may be made by the removal of the Spanish Ambassador now there to Paris where an opening is made for him by the death of Azzara.

You will learn from Mr. Lincoln that Russel has returned the Commission for Tunis.5 The business allotted to him at Naples, must, in consequence, I suppose be committed to Degan with a Consular Commission. With affectionate & respectful attachment Yrs.

James Madison

RC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). Docketed by Jefferson as received 27 Apr., with his notation: “N. O. bank. lres. of Livingston, Pinckney, Monroe, Claiborne, Yrujo—Russell.”

1See Claiborne to JM, 16 Mar. 1804 (second letter), PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 6:594–95 and n. 1.

2For Gallatin’s disapproval of Claiborne’s bank charter, see Jefferson to JM, 17 Apr. 1804, and n. 1. Gallatin apparently conveyed these sentiments directly to Claiborne in a letter of 16 Apr. For Claiborne’s defense, see his letter to Gallatin, 23 May 1804, in Rowland, Claiborne Letter Books, 2:160–64.

3The enclosed letter from Robert R. Livingston has not been identified. The other enclosures were probably Pinckney to JM, 12 Feb. 1804, Mazzei to JM, 28 Dec. 1803, Monroe to JM, 25 Feb. 1804, and Claiborne to JM, 15, 16 (first letter), and 24 Mar. 1804 (PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 6:469, 240–43, 510–12, 589–90, 590–94, 617–18); and Samuel Smith to JM, 23 Apr. 1804. Monroe’s private letter may have been that of 26 Feb. 1804, while Claiborne’s private letters were probably those of 24 and 25 Mar. 1804 (ibid., 6:513–14, 618–19, 619).

4For the increasing asperity shown by Yrujo over the Mobile Act and West Florida, see Yrujo to JM, 7, 17, and 21 Mar. 1804, and JM to Yrujo, 19 Mar. 1804, ibid., 6:557–62, 597–98, 610–11, 604–5; see also JM to Pinckney, 10 Apr. 1804.

5On 17 Apr. 1804 Levi Lincoln wrote to Jefferson (DNA: RG 59, LRD, filed under “Russell”) enclosing a letter from Jonathan Russell (not found) and noting, “You will perceive the situation in which he places himself.” Jefferson docketed the letter, “Russell declines consulship Tunis.”

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