James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Graham, 29 August 1810

From John Graham

Department of State 29th August 1810

Dear Sir

I had the Honor by the last Mail to acknowledge the receipt of your Letter of the 24th. Inst. and to inform you that a Commission for Mr Freeman as Surveyor of the Public Lands South of Tennessee had been sent to the Treasury.

The Papers for Mr Poinset have been made out agreeably to your direction and sent to the Secy of State who is now at Baltimore for his Signature. Mr P. will get to Buenos-Ayres in good time, for I learn from an acquaintance of mine there, that a Revolution has taken place in that Country. I take the Liberty to send you the Printed Papers, which he sent me, and shall add to them his account of the Revolution1 if I can get it from the Printer with whom I left it last Night.

Yesterday we received Despatches which came out, I beleive, with Mr Morier; tho we have got nothing from him which indicates that they were in his charge. I put them under cover to Mr Smith before I left the office, first having run over them to see if they contained any thing important which we could send you by this days Mail. The inclosed extract2 is all that bears that character if indeed it does.

Mr Pinkneys former Despatches yesterday returned to the office from Mr Smith and I have now the Honor to forward them to you3 with some of the News Papers received with Mr P.s last Despatches.

I return agreeably to your request Judge Toulmins Letter4 & its inclosures and with them a Paper he sent me.5 It appears that Govr Holmes had been apprised of the contemplated expedition against Mobile, I therefore thought it unnecessary to write to him on the subject a second time, as I did not feel myself authorised to give any particular instructions—least you should not have a Copy of the Laws with you I will take the Liberty to observe that the Law of June 1794. makes it lawful for the President “or any Person he may have empowered for that purpose, to employ such part of the Land or Naval Forces of the UStates or of the Militia thereof as may be judged necessary for the purpose of preventing carrying on any (military) expedition or enterprise from the territories of the UStates against the Territories or Dominions of a Foreign Prince or State, with whom the UStates are at Peace.[”] With Sentiments of the most Sincere & Respectful attachment I have the Honor to be, Sir, Your Most Obt Sert

John Graham

RC (DLC); first enclosure (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers). First enclosure (2 pp.) in a clerk’s hand; marked “(Copy.)”; docketed by Graham, “Recd 28th Augt.”; marked by JM “to be returned to J. M.” (see n. 2). For other enclosures, see nn. 3–5.

1An “Extract of a letter from Buenos Ayres” appeared in the National Intelligencer on 31 Aug. 1810.

2Graham enclosed an extract from William Pinkney’s 6 July 1810 dispatch to Robert Smith, reporting on a conversation he had held that morning with Lord Wellesley on the state of Anglo-American relations. The two diplomats agreed that Pinkney should write a note on the subject, to which Wellesley promised to respond. Wellesley also undertook to write additional notes on the Chesapeake affair and the dispute over blockades. Pinkney was optimistic about the outcome and announced that John Philip Morier, who was carrying the dispatch to the U.S., would serve “for a short time, as charges-des-affaires” in Washington.

3Pinkney to Robert Smith, 12 June 1810, with the enclosures: Pinkney to Wellesley, 5 June 1810, and Wellesley to Pinkney, 7 June 1810 (DNA: RG 59, DD, Great Britain). Graham had forwarded this material to Robert Smith on 7 Aug. (Graham to JM, 8 Aug. 1810).

5This was very probably Francisco Maximilian de St. Maxent to Richard Sparks, 25 June 1810, formally complaining about a society “in the neighbourhood of Fort Stoddert, named Expedition of Mobile,” whose object was said to be to “take Mobile and to destroy all the houses of Commerce &c.” Toulmin obtained copies of the document and evidently sent them to both John Graham and Mississippi territorial governor David Holmes. Toulmin had already mentioned this in his 28 July 1810 letter to JM, who had also received the same information from the enclosure in John Smith’s letter to him of 7 Aug. 1810 (see Carter, Territorial Papers, Mississippi, 6:77, 79–82, 85).

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