James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Jarvis (Abstract), 2 April 1805

§ From William Jarvis

2 April 1805, Lisbon. “Desirous of sifting the report that I mentioned in the foregoing1 relative to some negotiations between this Court and Great Britain, I applied to a Gentleman whom I had reason to believe would know something of it, if any thing of the kind had taken place; he informed me, that, to some explanation that had been requested on the part of the British Government & communicated by the British Minister here, but the pricise demands in which he did not know; this Government had returned for answer, that the Convention of neutrality which it had entered into with France at the commencement of the present War,2 it would strictly adhere to, but should France make any further claims or demands it would risk every consequence sooner than accede to them. As his connections and character are such as to make me confide in what he said, and as he seemed to think that the British Minister was satisfied with this answer, I cannot but conclude that the Object of the explanations was to prevent any further pecuniary aid being given to the French Government by this. The report of the day is that there are nine Algerine Cruisers out of the Straights. A seventy-four a Frigate and two sloops of War will sail to day if they can get out. Duplicate of Mr. Monroe’s letter3 of the Protest4 and of Mr. de Araujo’s letter5 go inclosed.”

RC (DNA: RG 59, CD, Lisbon, vol. 2). 2 pp.; in a clerk’s hand.

2The 19 Mar. 1804 treaty of neutrality and aid between France and Portugal relieved Portugal of its obligations to France imposed in their treaty of 29 Sept. 1801 and instead required the prince regent to pay France a subsidy of sixteen million francs accruing at one million francs a month from 1 Dec. 1803. The treaty also dealt with trading rights and claims and required Portugal to extend to citizens of the Italian, Batavian, and Helvetic Republics the privileges it accorded to French citizens (de Clercq, Recueil des traités de la France, 2:86–87).

3For the letter, see Jarvis to JM, 29 Mar. 1805, and n. 1.

4For Capt. James W. Sutter’s protest against the impressment of some of his seamen, see Jarvis to JM, 29 Mar. 1805.

5For a description of Araújo’s letter (2 pp.; in Portuguese) with translation (1 p.), see ibid., and n. 2.

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