James Madison Papers

Memorandum to Thomas Jefferson, [14 June] 1804

Memorandum to Thomas Jefferson

[14 June 1804]

£50 paid to John Chisholm

Extract from Mr. King’s explanatory remarks1

“It will be recollected that Chisholm was confederated with Blount and others in a project to invade the Floridas from the Territories of the United States2—that he went to England with letters from the B. Minister Mr. Liston, introducing him and his project to the English Ministry. Mr. King obtained from Chisholm a full disclosure of his plan, which with the names of his Associates was reported to the Secretary of State in his Despatch No. 57 Dated Decr. 10. 17973—To this Despatch Mr. King refers for the motives which influenced him in authorizing the payment of £50 Sterling to Chisholm.”

The motives appear to have been a desire to obtain the information & Chisholm’s request to be supplied with the money to enable him to pay his debts and the expense of his return. A receipt exists for the money, expressing it as a loan. Major Lenox paid the money for Mr. King.

RC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). First paragraph in a clerk’s hand; second paragraph in Wagner’s hand. Docketed by Jefferson: “Departmt. State. recd. June 14. 04 Chisolm. King.”

1This line is written in JM’s hand. For the questions raised in the settlement of Rufus King’s accounts as minister to Great Britain, see Memorandum from Richard Harrison, 6 June 1804.

2For the background of the Blount conspiracy of 1797 and John D. Chisholm’s part in it, see Buckner F. Melton Jr., The First Impeachment: The Constitution’s Framers and the Case of Senator William Blount (Macon, Ga., 1998), 89–103.

3For Rufus King’s letter to Timothy Pickering, 10 Dec. 1797, see King, Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, 2:256–58.

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