James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Jarvis, 25 June 1803

From William Jarvis, 25 June 1803

Lisbon 25th. June 1803.


By the Brig Tace Captn. Thomas via Philadelphia, I had the honor to address you the 11th. Instant, enclosing a copy of my note covering the Presidents letter to the Prince Regent & the declaration of the Prince Regent respecting the Neutrality of this Kingdom. I have since been confidently informed that Senr. De Araujo, the Portugueze Minister at the Court of St. Petersburg has obtained from that Government an assurance that the Emperor would guarantee the Neutrality of this Country: and that that Government had signified the intentions of the Emperor to the English and French Ministers.

The Sum paid for Louisianna I presume will be deemed a mere trifle compared with the great disadvantage the Settlement of it by the French must have been to our Country, and would form but an Item in the expence that would probably have arisen from taking possession of the Country by force of Arms. Let the conduct of Government in this affair be viewed in what point of light it will, it must do them much honor; and at the same time that inspires additional confidence in the moderation, prudence, firmness and Wisdom of the Executive, convince all those who have not closed their Mi⟨nds⟩ against Conviction, of the rash, extravagant, injudicious measure the federal War Clamourists would have precipitated their Country into. [. . .]serve for the claims on the French Nation [. . .] also refute the perpetual ⟨ding⟩ of Government [. . .] inattentive to the Interest of the Mercantile pa⟨rt of⟩ the Community.

I am sorry our Supplies have not arrived in Algiers, as I imagine it behoves us to ⟨leave⟩ no just cause of complaint at this time; When [. . .] the Forbearance of France and England & comp⟨liance⟩ of some of the other European Nations, the ⟨Dey may⟩ probably form so high an opinion of his Pow⟨er &⟩ consequence as to render him more intractable a⟨nd⟩ unreasonable than ever. From the little informa⟨tion⟩ I possess of the Politics of the Regency I am ⟨led to⟩ believe that they are at all times governed by ⟨the⟩ fears or interest in their foreign Connections; ⟨I con⟩ceive that not any Nation can be secure wit⟨hout⟩ having recourse to one of those principles, by [. . .] and punctual compliance with the letter & spirit of their Treaties, or to keep a force in the Mediterranean Sufficient to awe or beat them into Submission. A report is circulated here that a Portugueze Frigate cut out an armed vessel from the Bay of Algiers and has carried her into St. Mary’s and would likewise have cut out the Cisne had she not been towed on Shore; it however seems to be incorrect without it took place since the date of Mr. OB’s letter.

I believe Mr. OBrien must be misinformed relative to the appointment of an Ambassador by this Government to Algiers but should they & a Peace be concluded before our presents arrive to put the Dey in a little better humour with us, it might prove very prejudicial to our affaires.

Inclosed I have the pleasure to forward letters from Mrs. Pinckney, Graham, Simpson & Leonard one from each, & a Copy of part of one from Mr. OBrien. I have the Honor to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant,

William Jarvis

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