James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George Joy, 24 February 1812

From George Joy

London 24th. Feby 1812

Dear sir,

I have now seen the letter from Mr. Percival which I mentioned to you in the Postscript to Dupl: of my Letter of the 22nd1 and the following is an Extract of it, written from memory to be sure, but in respect to the emphatical words literal, and in other respects substantially if not verbally correct. Viz:

“That the perseverance in the measure of the orders in Council is not grounded in extravagant or fancied Punctilio but is deemed by those who advise it of absolutely essential and indispensible necessity to the hopes of the security and independence of the Country.”

In the Star of Tuesday Evening the 18th. of Jany:2 there is Extract of the letter from Boston of the 19th. of Jany:3 that was sent to Mr. Percival in the Note to which the above and mere compliments are the answer. I rest very respectfully Dear sir, Your friend & Servant4

Geo: Joy.

RC and enclosures (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers). RC marked quadruplicate. In a clerk’s hand, signed by Joy. Cover marked “Custom House Baltime / April 6 1812 / Recd & forwarded by / Jas. H. McCulloch.” Postmarked Baltimore, 6 Apr. Docketed by JM. For enclosures (12 pp.), see n. 4.

1The duplicate of Joy’s 22 Feb. 1812 letter to JM has not been found.

2Joy intended to write February here; 18 Jan. was a Saturday, but 18 Feb. was a Tuesday (see also n. 3, below).

3The Boston letter of 19 Jan. 1812 referred to by Joy was also discussed in Letter VII of the “Cosmopolite” essays that Joy had sent to JM (see pp. 145–47 in the pamphlet version and pp. 67–69 in the manuscript copies; this source also confirms that the text of the Boston letter was published in the London Morning Star on 18 Feb. 1812). The author of that letter was described by Joy as a person whose politics were of “the English party in America,” a person, “as I am credibly informed, of a respectable public character (though perhaps not so respectful to his own government as the writer of the above) who says in another letter, ‘though John Bull is a good soldier, and a good sailor, and a good fellow if you please; yet you must allow that he is a very bad politician.’” The writer from Boston reported that the U.S. had decided “to assume a very warlike attitude … at the continuance of the orders in council,” but he then stated that the motives inducing the British ministry to persevere with the orders were “quite incomprehensible to the best friends of Great Britain in this country.” “The effect will be, to make every man odious who dares to express a wish for your success and prosperity—a sentiment still common to our best men but which an adherence to this system will impair and destroy.” The Boston writer agreed that the French repeal of the Berlin and Milan decrees had been “merely nominal, and that our administration have become willingly dupes to the insidious policy of Napoleon.” But, he argued, why should the ministry mind that, when it had the opportunity, by restoring harmony with America, to embroil the U.S. with France? “Napoleon will renew his outrages the moment we are friends, and the natural ties which connect Great Britain and America would be drawn closer. On the contrary, the scrupulous adherence of your cabinet to an empty punctilio, will too probably unite the whole country in opposition to your nation, and sever for generations, perhaps for ever, interests which have the most natural ties of affinity, and men who ought to feel and love like brethren.”

4Filed with the RC is a triplicate of the fourth “Cosmopolite” letter as well as a first copy of the fifth letter in that series. The subject of the former letter is Fox’s blockade of 1806; that of the latter is the Chesapeake affair. A note on the verso of the cover of the RC, in the hand of Joy’s copyist, indicates that these copies were enclosed with the RC.

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