James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Pinkney, 23 March 1810

From William Pinkney

London. 23d. March 1810.

Dear Sir

I had intended to write you a very tedious Letter; but I have no longer Time to do so—as it is now near 2. OClock in the Morning and Lieut. Elliott leaves Town at 10. A.M.

My official Letter of the 21t. Inst.1 will apprize you of the Course finally taken by this Government in Consequence of Mr. Jackson’s Affair. I do not presume to anticipate your Judgment upon it. It certainly is not what I wished, &, at one Time, expected; but I am persuaded that it is meant to be Conciliatory. I have laboured earnestly to produce such a Result as I believed wd. be more acceptable. Why I have failed I do not precisely know—and I will not harrass you with Conjectures. The Result, such as it is, will I am sure be used in the wisest Manner for the Honour & prosperity of our Country.

It is doubtful whether there will be any Change of Administration here. Partial Changes in Administration are very likely.

I think I can say with Certainty that a more friendly Disposition towards the U. S. exists in this Country at present than for a long Time past.

I had the Honour to receive your Letter of the 4h. of December, by Lieut Elliott—and am very much obliged to you for it. Presuming upon your Indulgence I will write again by the first opportunity. Mr. Oakeley2 will I think set out for America very soon; and I take for granted will be the Chargé d’Affaires.

With sincere and anxious Wishes for your Health and Happiness and for the Honour & Strength of your Government—believe me to be Dear Sir your faithful Friend and Obedient Servant

Wm Pinkney

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers). Docketed by JM.

1Pinkney to Robert Smith, 21 Mar. 1810 (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States ... (38 vols.; Washington, 1832-61). description ends , Foreign Relations, 3:351–52). In this letter, Pinkney reported—on the basis of correspondence and several conversations with Lord Wellesley—that the Perceval ministry was unlikely to send a new minister to Washington in the immediate future to replace Jackson and that JM therefore could not expect to receive any proposals for arrangements on the Chesapeake affair and the orders in council.

2Charles Oakley was secretary at the British legation in Washington when Jackson’s recall was demanded. While Jackson tarried in America for several months, Oakley returned to London late in 1809. Instead of Oakley, John Philip Morier was appointed secretary of the British legation circa 14 Apr. 1810, and he served as chargé d’affaires at Washington until the arrival of Augustus John Foster in July 1811 (Mayo, Instructions to British Ministers description begins Bernard Mayo, ed., Instructions to British Ministers to the United States, 1791-1812, Annual Report of the American Historical Association of the Year 1936, vol. 3 (Washington, 1941). description ends , pp. 302–3 and n. 4).

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