James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Jacob Wagner, 20 September 1804

From Jacob Wagner

Department of State 20th. Septr. 1804.

Dear Sir

The Marquis Yrujo is here and will depart this afternoon or to morrow morning for Monticello.1 He mentions that the terms on which the Spanish Government would alone ratify the Convention correspond with those mentioned in the Gazettes: 1st a protraction of the time for receiving claims: 2nd. the repeal of the 11th. section of the Collection Act, & 3rd. the renunciation of claims for captures in which the french were concerned.2 He adds that Mr. Pinckney closed an amicable correspondence by the unexpected step of writing a letter demanding a passport but without his signature:3 whereupon the Spanish Minister wrote to him to know whether the letter really proceeded from him, but received no answer tho’ two days had elapsed at the date of the Marquis’ dispatches. He asserts, that the newspaper publications on the Subject commenced at Norfolk and Richmond some days before he received his official advices. As attempts are making to preoccupy the public mind with respect to our title to W. Florida and as a very imperfect view of it is taken by those who are inclined to think it good, I could wish for permission to publish the President’s Chronological Series of facts & his Examination of the Boundaries of Louisiana,4 in Mr. Smith’s paper, omitting every thing which would necessarily indicate the author. I have lent them to Mr. Smith for perusal, but with an injunction against publishing any part of them, but not against any use he might make of the matter they contain, in his own words and in a different form from that in which they stand.

The two enclosed drafts of letters I find to be necessary in order to the examination of the imputed violations by the French ships at New York.5 The6 depositions I have from time to time sent you containing additional relations of the aggressions there by the British are necessary as enclosures in the last letter to Mr. Monroe: will you therefore be pleased to forward them to me. Two of the seamen mentioned in the enclosed letter from Mr. Merry7 certainly are Americans; and I am inclined to think Holmes, an American, is onboard the Leander. His friends at New London informed Genl. Huntington, the Collector, that he was there. Mr. Brent has written on the subject to Genl. Huntington,8 and also to Boston for further proof respecting Blake.9 With perfect respect & esteem Your most obed. servt.

Jacob Wagner

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1For Yrujo’s proposed visit to Monticello, see Wagner to JM, 18 Sept. 1804, and n. 2.

2The Spanish conditions for ratification of the Convention of 1802 were printed in the 12 Sept. 1804 Richmond Enquirer and the 13 Sept. 1804 Norfolk Gazette. On 5 Sept. they were printed in the Philadelphia United States’ Gazette.

3For Charles Pinckney’s demand for his passports, see Pinckney to JM, 20 July 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 , 7:488–96, 497 n. 5.

4For the “Chronological series of facts relative to Louisiana” and “An enquiry concerning the northern Boundary of Canada and Louisiana,” see JM to Robert R. Livingston, 31 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 , 6:643, 648 n. 12.

5Wagner presumably enclosed drafts (not found) of JM to David Gelston and to Nathan Sanford, both dated 19 Sept. 1804.

6JM placed an asterisk here and wrote on the facing page, “*These had been sent but not recd.”

8On 19 Sept. 1804 Brent wrote to Jedediah Huntington enclosing Capt. Alexander Skene’s statement regarding John Holmes, whom Huntington had described in an 18 Aug. 1804 letter as an American citizen, and telling Huntington that Holmes’s friends would have to furnish more proof of his status (DNA: RG 59, DL, vol. 14).

9On 19 Sept. 1804 Brent wrote to Benjamin Lincoln stating that a deposition from New York described William Blake as a Boston native whose parents still resided in that city. Brent asked Lincoln to find the parents and obtain from them additional evidence of Blake’s citizenship, which would be used in the attempt to obtain his release (ibid., DNA: RG 59).

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