James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Samuel Smith, 17 August 1810

From Samuel Smith

Baltimore 17 Augt. 1810


I do myself the honor to Enclose, an Extract of a letter just recieved from the Havannah.1 I presume the Person is the same who dined with you last Winter and was introduced by Dr. Thornton to many Gentlemen. I have the honor [to] be sir, Your friend & Servt.

S. Smith

RC and enclosure (DLC). Postmarked Baltimore, 16 Aug. Enclosure 1 p., in an unidentified hand (see n. 1).

1Smith enclosed an extract from a 31 July 1810 letter by Vincent Gray, an American merchant who occasionally performed consular duties in Havana, reporting the execution of a Mexican, Manuel Rodríguez Alemán y Paña (or Peña), as a Bonapartist emissary. The credentials he bore from Joseph Bonaparte, Gray wrote, were “burnt under him, as he was suspended on the Gallows.” Alemán had evidently confessed the names of many Bonapartist emissaries and agents in both North and South America, and Gray promised to forward a list of their names to the secretary of state. Although Gray regretted the death of “a young man of the first Talents & Respectability,” he hoped that it would also “be the Cause of preventing that valuable Country Mexico, from being deluged in Blood.” On the significance of Alemán’s mission as an expression of Napoleon’s policy toward Spanish America, see Robertson, France and Latin-American Independence, pp. 72–78, and Rydjord, Foreign Interest in the Independence of New Spain, pp. 304–5.

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