James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Mathew Arnold Hœvel, 29 September 1810 (Abstract)

§ From Mathew Arnold Hœvel1

29 September 1810, Santiago de Chile. Informs JM that the people of Chile met in convention on 18 Sept. to take measures to defend the country against threats from abroad and to correct the abuses of the previous regime. They have established a provisional board of government until a congress can meet, and the board is considering opening Chile’s ports to neutral commerce. Hitherto American vessels have been mistaken for English and have been seized on that account. Recommends appointing a commercial agent and minister to deal with Chile and offers his services as the only American citizen in the country. Has resided in Chile for five years, is familiar with all parts of the country, and in America he is known to the Livingston family of New York.

RC, three copies (DLC; DNA: RG 59, ML; and DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17, filed under “Havel”); Tr (PHi: Poinsett Papers). RC 3 pp.

1Mathew Arnold Hœvel, a native of Sweden, was a naturalized American citizen who had first come to Chile in a vessel owned by J. R. Livingston. He was instrumental in establishing a newspaper, the Aurora, in Santiago, and on 1 May 1811 Secretary of State James Monroe forwarded a copy of his letter to JM to Joel Roberts Poinsett with the suggestion that Poinsett consider employing Hœvel if appropriate. In 1812 Hœvel received a vice-consular appointment from Poinsett as part of the latter’s efforts to persuade José Miguel Carrera and other Chilean leaders to declare their province independent of Spain (Monroe to Poinsett, 1 May 1811 [PHi: Poinsett Papers]; Henry Clay Evans, Chile and Its Relations with the United States [Durham, N.C., 1927], pp. 17–18).

Index Entries