From James Monroe
Washington Aug 31 1813
I have resolved to remain here till I receive your answer to mine of yesterday, on the presumption that I may be of some use in promoting your views relative to the expedition against the hostile tribes to the south. On further reflection I have some doubt whether it had not better be left to the govrs. of Georgia & Tenissee, to fix on the commander of the expedition, as time may be lost before Genl Pinckney, if willing to act, might be prepared; and as it is probable, that his qualifications might not be better adapted to the trust than Jackson, or other militia general. If you do not designate Pinckney the affair will be left in its present train in which case arrangments must be made for the supply of munitions of war & provisions, either by instructing the commissy of military stores, Qrmaster, & contractor, with genl. P. to act, or giving suitable powers elsewhere. Whatever letters are written for the purpose, will be signd, by the gentlemen in the war dept. I will assist them, with my advice, in giving effect to your views.
The affr. is interesting as it relates to the conduct of the govr. of Pensacola, in supplying the Indians with ammunition. I presume the commanders must be instructed not to act, on that acct, against St Augustine. The measures to be taken if any, agnst the Spanish province, being reservd for future consideration.
I enclose you a letter just recd. from Mr. Jones, written by the navy officer commanding in that quarter.1 I think I showed you a letter from Genl. P., just before you left this to the same effect.2 What instructions shall I give him on that subject. Very respectfully & sincerely yrs.
RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers). Addressee not indicated; identified as JM on the basis of internal evidence.
1. Monroe enclosed Hugh G. Campbell’s letter to William Jones, 14 Aug. 1813 (3 pp.; DNA: RG 45, Captains’ Letters), in which Campbell, naval commander at St. Marys, reported that “a body of men calling themselves patriots of East Florida” had assembled in Georgia and entered Florida with the intention of recapturing the town of Fernandina on Amelia Island. On 8 Aug. the patriots had skirmished with a small force from Fernandina, of which the wounded were then treated at the U.S. military quarters at Point Peter. This series of events was unfortunate, Campbell wrote, because the Spanish seemed to believe that it was “nothing More than a repetition of General Mathews Measures” (for George Mathews’s efforts to foment rebellion in East Florida, see William Harris Crawford to Monroe, 5 Apr. 1812, PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (6 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 4:291–94 and n. 2, 295 n. 3). Campbell observed that the Georgia militia could not be relied on to curb the patriots’ activities, and “the Civil authority here appear a ded letter.”
2. Monroe referred to Thomas Pinckney’s letter to him of 31 July 1813, which stated that hostilities between the East Florida patriots and Spanish forces appeared likely. Pinckney had ordered that the law be enforced at the U.S. Army base, Camp Pinckney, and that any “authentic information of an assembly for the purpose of hostile agression” towards East Florida be reported to the local magistrate. Fearing, however, that these measures would “prove ineffectual,” Pinckney requested that Monroe inform him whether he should “resort to other and what means, more effectually to prevent the violation of the Spanish territory.” Monroe docketed the letter, “For the President” (NN: Monroe Papers).