James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George W. Erving, 29 September 1801

From George W. Erving, 29 September 1801

No. 1.

London Septr. 29th. 1801.


I have the honor to inform you that I arrived ⟨at⟩ Falmouth on the 16th., at this place on the 20th. Inst. ⟨I⟩ immediately waited upon Mr. King with your ⟨dis⟩patches: I delivered to him also my commission ⟨& com⟩municated your instructions as directed. ⟨Ow⟩ing I presume to the great pressure of various ⟨con⟩cerns upon the new administration I have ⟨not⟩ yet obtained my exsequatur, & that the business ⟨of⟩ the consulate may suffer no interruption by ⟨this⟩ delay, Mr. King has desired Mr. Williams to ⟨con⟩tinue to act till the exsequatur is issued. ⟨Som⟩e of the papers relating to the agency I have ⟨rece⟩ived, the remainder Mr. Williams is Engaged ⟨at⟩ my request in placing in such a state of ⟨arr⟩angement as may Enable me with the most ⟨fac⟩ility to possess myself of their contents, & ⟨to⟩ comprehend the details of this voluminous business: After this, I shall immediately apply myself as directed by the President to the making out as particular a statement as possible of the monies already received under the 7th. Article of the treaty, but from the difficulty of ascertain⟨ing⟩ what has been received by private agents, I ⟨now⟩ fear that a perfect statement cannot be made. I have found Mr. Williams hitherto disposed to afford me all the information which I have required. Mr. Dawson will of cour⟨se⟩ render you, a particular account of the state of political affairs here & in France; all hope of an immediate peace seems to be abandoned, tho it is understood that a negotiation of couriers is still to a certain degree continued. There has lately been a rumour of another change in the British ministry, the return of Mr. Pitt into office or the appointment of Mr. Windham (late Secy. at War) to the direction of public affairs; but the best opinion seems to be that the King is very well satisfied to find himself disengaged from the trammels which his late ministers held him, when he ⟨fe⟩lt himself a perfect dependent on his own ⟨servants⟩, & that he is charmed with the mild ⟨con⟩ciliatory manners of Mr. Addington so different ⟨fro⟩m those of his predecessor: That Mr. Windham ⟨should⟩ come into office seems at this time most ⟨im⟩probable, if however such a change shoud ⟨tak⟩e place, all hopes of peace or any future ⟨at⟩tempts to treat for one will of course be ⟨giv⟩en up; his avowed object has always been ⟨to⟩ make this a war of extermination ("usque ad ⟨in⟩ternecionem") Neither time nor disaster seem ⟨to⟩ have mitigated the rigor of his principles, ⟨nor⟩ to have assuaged the asperity of his feelings. ⟨Bu⟩t let who may be minister, it is said that ⟨at⟩ least the enormous sum of forty millions ⟨wi⟩ll be wanted at the meeting of the imperial ⟨par⟩liament. Their affairs in Oegypt seem to ⟨be⟩ prosperous. I have however heard (which is ⟨a⟩ subject of general conversation) that the troops ⟨be⟩fore Alexandria are in a very sickly state & ⟨are⟩ particularly affected by a severe complaint in the Eyes, a malady appropriate to that count⟨ry⟩ & probably occasioned by the reflection of the sun’s rays from the sands on which they ⟨are⟩ encamped, or it may be from the finer particl⟨es⟩ of the sand itself rising into their eyes.

Our squadron in the mediterranean has alrea⟨dy⟩ produced very beneficial Effects, & the sending ⟨of it⟩ has made a very favorable impression here a⟨s⟩ well (as by the account of Mr. Dawson) in Fr⟨ance,⟩ but all that relates to this interesting business will I presume make the subject of a particu⟨lar⟩ communication from Mr. King. I coud not but observe in passing thro the country from Cornwall to this place the immense abund⟨nce⟩ of the corn harvest, most unusual quantities ⟨of⟩ potatoes have been also sown, & in some parts of the country the poor are permitted to take for the trouble of digging them: The sea⟨son⟩ is also uncommonly mild & favorable; a small rise in flower indeed has taken place this is owing to the circumstance of all the first corn which is thrashed out being used ⟨for⟩ seed: Upon the whole the sufferings of ⟨the⟩ poor in this country are not likely to be so ⟨gre⟩at in the Ensuing year as they have been, ⟨even⟩ tho the war shoud continue. I have the honor to be Sir with the truest ⟨Res⟩pect Your very Obt. St.

George W. Erving

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