James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Mathew Arnold Hœvel, 22 March 1811

From Mathew Arnold Hœvel

Santiago March 22d. 1811.

May it please Your Excellency.

By special request of the present board of Government in the Kingdom of Chile,1 I have the honor to transmit to Your Excell & Government of the United States the enclosed Official letter, & am happy to add that the sentiments therein expressed are truly those which now in the highest degree animate this Board & the good people of Chile—and which sentiments I venture to assert will last with them towards the United States & its Citizens with preference to what any European Power may expect.

I beg leave to suggest to the Wisdom of Your Excellency, weither it would no⟨t be⟩ of moment to meet the wish of this Board in soon appointing an Agent here with ⟨whom⟩ they might treat on subjects highly interesting & advantageous to both nations.

The representatives of the people will meet in Congress next month for the first time, and a new Constitution is to be formed. I have the honor to remain with great regard Sir Your Excellencys most obedient & very hble Servt.

Mathw. Arnd. Hœvel
a Citizen of the U: S: of A. late of
New York now residing at Santiago.

[First Enclosure]
§ From Fernando Márquez de la Plata and Others2

22 March 1811, Santiago. Extends the hand of friendship from Chile to the people of the U.S. Encloses a “Declaration of Commerce” by which “the productions of our Soil and of our Industry will be common.”3 Adds that since “every description of Arms are to us objects of the most urgent necessity and especially Guns and Pistols,… the obligation would be immense if you would send us—as we earnestly beg of you to do, some artisans who know how to make them.” Advises that “those of your fellow Citizens who navigate these Seas” have been asked to “permit the recent orders of this Govt.… to blot out from their Minds, the unfriendly ideas with which those who formerly governed here had doubtless inspired them.”

RC and first enclosure, two copies (DNA: RG 59, NFL, Chile; and DNA: RG 59, ML); second enclosure (DNA: RG 59, NFL, Chile). First copy of RC damaged by removal of seal; second copy marked “Duplicate.” First enclosure in Spanish; filed with the first copy are two translations, one in the hand of John Graham (4 pp.); a third translation is filed with the second copy. Graham’s translation is printed in Manning, Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States concerning the Independence of the Latin-American Nations, 2:895–96. For second enclosure, see n. 3.

1The cabildo of Santiago, in open session on 18 Sept. 1810, had established a junta to govern the kingdom of Chile during the captivity of Ferdinand VII. In January 1811 that body decided to open the ports of Chile to international trade (Simon Collier, Ideas and Politics of Chilean Independence, 1808–1833 [Cambridge, Mass., 1977], pp. 44–93).

2Fernando Márquez de la Plata y Orozco (1740–1818) was born in Seville, Spain, and after 1775 had served in minor positions in the viceroyalties of Peru and La Plata. Since 1803 he had been a member of the audencia of Santiago (Luis Galdames, A History of Chile, trans. Isaac J. Cox [Chapel Hill, N.C., 1941], p. 492).

3The junta forwarded a copy of a decree, dated 21 Feb. 1811 (8 pp.; in Spanish, with a six-page translation), opening Chilean ports to the commerce of friendly nations. Filed with the duplicate copy of the RC (DNA: RG 59, ML) is a copy of a statement dated 22 Mar. 1811 (2 pp.), made by John MacKenna, governor at Valparaiso, confirming that the junta had ordered that “Anglo American Ships” be admitted to Chilean ports.

Index Entries