James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Josef Bruno Magdalena, 20 March 1813

From Josef Bruno Magdalena

Philada. March the 20th. 1813.


My pressing circunstances induce me to trespass upon your goodness with the most intreating request, that your Excellency may take the trouble to be informed of the annexed copy of letter & documents which I sent in October last to Mr. Munroe, and of which I receive no answer yet.1

As the motives for which I did adress myself then to the Secretary of State of the United States, increase every day, I do not think to deceive myself, Sir, when I trust in your goodness for such relief, as may be consistent with justice, & with the propriety of your hightest Character. With the greatest respect I have the honor to be Sir. Your Excellency most obt. & humble Servt

Josef Bruno Magdalena

RC (DNA: RG 59, NFL, Spain).

1Magdalena had written to James Monroe on 13 Oct. 1812 (3 pp.; DNA: RG 59, NFL, Spain) enclosing documents (3 pp.) supporting his claim that on account of his official character in the Spanish legation, he had been exonerated by Alexander James Dallas in 1808 from “the performance of civil or military duties, & from the payment of taxes.” He had subsequently received orders to report to Saxony, but having no funds of his own nor a salary from the Spanish government, was compelled to remain near Philadelphia and earn his living “by cultivating flower roots, for sale, as a botanical gardiner.” Despite these circumstances, Magdalena still considered his diplomatic appointment valid and hoped that under the law of nations his exemption from payment of taxes and military service would continue.

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