James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Charles Pinckney, 24 July 1805

From Charles Pinckney


July 24: 1805 In Madrid

Dear Sir

I wrote you ten days since acquainting you with what you doubtless heard before the Peace with Tripoli made by Colonel Lear on terms as it is said very honourable & advantageous1—I now send you duplicate of the last six months’ contingencies for Postage &c which is exceedingly small on account of all foreign Gazettes & correspondence nearly having ceased for the last Year & the letters to Mr Monroe & self during the special mission having all come under cover to Bankers & do not appear in the Postage—in this there was a mistake I find in my Mayor Domos account to me of 116 Dollars in the beginning of 1804 in the Quarter between January & April which I wish you to correct.

It is now very near the month of August & I am still obliged to stay here contrary to my inclination & most ardent desire to return—nor do I know what to do—Mr Bowdoin is gone to England—Mr Erving is there also & Mr. Young is not arrived nor is there any one here to whom I can with the smallest propriety entrust the charge of our affairs—I really do not know what to do—to stay is the most distressing & inconvenient thing in the World to me & I have only to hope the speedy arrival of Mr Young with whom I propose leaving every thing until Mr Bowdoin or Mr Erving can arrive & you can determine what is to be done. I am so anxious to return that as I have often told you every day now I am obliged to remain looks like a month.

About a year agoë I drew for a sufficient sum to cover all the debts of the Legation & contingencies & my own salary & in short every thing then due as the then pressing & urgent state of affairs made necessary & of which you can only judge when You see me as things then passed which I am not at liberty to put on paper even in cypher—since this & for the whole of my last Year I have not drawn for a shilling on any account, either salary or contingencies, or special missions—extraordinary for as I am hopeful to have money enough from the sale of my Effects to carry me home, I would rather leave a Balance undrawn in my favour than to place it in the Power of any one to suppose I had drawn for a shilling I had not a right fully to draw. To our good President I always request you to remember me affectionately & respectfully & to believe me always dear sir With regard Yours Truly

Charles Pinckney

I have this moment recieved official information of the capture & carrying in to Algesires of three more American Ships, named the Recovery from Norfolk.2 The ⟨B⟩;erbish Packet from Charleston & a Ship name unknown bound from Faro to Malaga. I am making a proper representation on the subject to the secretary of state here & these make Eleven on which I have represented within a month.

I hear much of the Captures of our Vessels in the West Indies but of this You must know better than I as nothing official has Yet reached me on that subject.

RC (DNA: RG 59, DD, Spain, vol. 6A). Damaged by removal of seal; docketed by Wagner as received 17 Sept., with his note: “Mr. Bowdoin is gone to England.” Enclosures not found.

1Pinckney’s 14 July 1805 letter, which enclosed his contingency accounts for the previous six months, does not mention the peace with Tripoli.

2The Recovery of Norfolk, Capt. Nathaniel F. Adams, was carrying a cargo of flour, rice, rum, sugar, and coffee to Gibraltar when it was captured. The cargo was condemned by the Spanish court for lack of a Spanish consular certificate of neutrality, but the ship was restored (Albany Gazette, 16 Sept. 1805; New-York Spectator, 21 Sept. 1805).

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