From Paul Hamilton
Washington Septr. 3d. 1811
The John Adams arrived at Boston on the 28th. ult., and my Son reached this place with his dispatches on yesterday; and as I do not consider him as having entirely fulfilled his duty untill he shall have delivered them to you, I have desired him to proceed with them by this days Mail. The informality of his not carrying them to Mr. Monroe, in the first instance, will be accounted for and excused by the circumstance of his residing beyond you—he will be at your command, to convey the papers to Mr. Monroe, after you have seen them, if you think proper so to employ him—and I will not conceal that I shall be much gratified, if by doing so, you afford him an opportunity of paying his respects not only to Mr. Monroe, but to Mr. Jefferson also, for both of whom I have taken care to inspire him with great veneration.
Mr. Graham has afforded me the perusal of the letters from Messrs. Smith & Russell—those from the first being of old date, and considering the late decisions by Sir William Scott afford no interest.1 Mr. Russell’s to the Departt of State, and the copy of one from him to Mr. Smith remove every doubt as to a revocation of the french Decrees;2 and I think it would be a happy circumstance if they could speedily be communicated to the public, provided you think it consistent with propriety.
My Son having great anxiety to set off I shall, at presents [sic], only add my best wishes and affectionate regard for you and Mrs. Madison in which my family join me. I am Dr. Sir truly yrs.
RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.
1. Hamilton had evidently been reading a series of dispatches and other material sent by John Spear Smith to Monroe between 5 and 27 June 1811. Letters under the dates of 5, 6, 8, and 16 June dealt with seizures under the orders in council and the reluctance of the British ministry to consider the repeal of those orders. Letters dated 19, 26, and 27 June were concerned with Sir William Scott’s condemnation of the Fox and other vessels (DNA: RG 59, DD, Great Britain; extracts printed in 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, 3:420–21).
2. Hamilton referred to Jonathan Russell to Monroe, 15 July 1811, enclosing copies of Russell to John Spear Smith, 5 and 14 July 1811. The first of these enclosures informed Smith that to the best of Russell’s knowledge the Berlin and Milan decrees had not been executed against American property since 1 Nov. 1810. The second discussed the matter in greater detail, pointing out that legal complexities relating to particular cases should not be construed as evidence that the French decrees were still in force, although Russell conceded at the same time that it would probably be French policy to employ “municipal” regulations to exclude British produce from Europe. This last matter, Russell observed, was of no concern to the U.S.; it was sufficient that the Berlin and Milan decrees had ceased to operate on the high seas. Great Britain, he concluded, could therefore no longer justify the orders in council on any principle of the law of retaliation.
Russell’s 15 July covering letter also enclosed his correspondence with French officials on these subjects and reported the release of many previously detained vessels. In response to Russell’s request for a clear statement to be sent back on the John Adams of the French regulations that would govern trade with the U.S., the duc de Bassano replied that “no such communication would be made here, but that M. Serrurier would be fully instructed on this head.” Otherwise, Russell announced that American produce (except sugar) would be admitted to France without special licenses, that coffee, sugar, and colonial produce would be admitted with licenses, and that everything arriving from Great Britain or places under its control would be prohibited (DNA: RG 59, DD, France; extracts printed in 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, 3:447, 504–8).