James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Congress, 26 May 1812

To Congress

May 26th 1812

I communicate to Congress, for their information, copies and extracts from the correspondence of the Secretary of State, and the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at Paris. These Documents will place before Congress the actual posture of our relations with France.1

James Madison

RC and enclosures, two copies (DNA: RG 233, President’s Messages, 12A-D1; and DNA: RG 46, Legislative Proceedings, 12A-E2). Each RC 1 p.; in the hand of Edward Coles, signed by JM. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1JM forwarded copies and extracts of twenty-three letters exchanged between Joel Barlow and the duc de Bassano and between Barlow and the Department of State, beginning with Monroe’s instructions to the American minister on 26 July 1811 and concluding with Barlow’s 22 Apr. 1812 dispatch to Monroe (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, 3:509–21). On the same day that JM sent these documents to Congress, the National Intelligencer observed that the Hornet had returned from France “without fulfilling the wishes of the government, or furnishing any satisfactory evidence that the French government sincerely intends to do that justice to the United States which alone can place the relations of the two countries on an amicable footing.” “However it may have observed the revocation of its decrees, and thereby fulfilled its pledge, so far as its adversary could derive a pretext from them, against the U. States, its proceedings in respect to our just claims and expectations, on other important subjects, are altogether unsatisfactory.” The editorialist declined, however, to enlarge on these “vague remarks on the subject, or to anticipate the course which the National Councils may best judge adapted to it.”

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