James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Monroe, 24 May 1814

From James Monroe

Washington May 24th. 1814

Dear Sir

I have received yours of the 21, & 19th. instt. On a closer inspection of the details from France, there is cause to infer, that the situation of Boniparte is not so desperate, as first appearances indicated. It is suspected that Wellington has recd. a check, and beleivd that Graham at Burgen op zoom, has been repulsed.1 The story of Boniparte having enterd Paris at the head of 200.000. men is evidently a fabrication.

We have nothing from Winder. Nor any thing addl. from any other quarter. The postscript on the letter from Adams (of whom a letter from Dr Dudley, brother of the Col: who was killed in the affair on the river Raisin gives a bad but just acct) communicates a useful fact, on the subject of finance.2 The letter of B. Smith, of whom I have no distinct recollection communicates another, still more interesting, if true.3 I send also a letter from Mr Dallas, with one from Mr Hare.4

Cochrane has sent a passport for Mr Pedersen, which confines him to a neutral ship, which shall not have broken the Blockade; forbids any citizen of the UStates to sail in it; or his taking charge of any dispatch from this govt. With respectfull regards

Jas Monroe

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers). For surviving enclosures, see nn. 2–3.

1The news of Sir Thomas Graham’s defeat at the fortress of Bergen op Zoom in the Netherlands was published in the Daily National Intelligencer on 25 May 1814. The following day, that newspaper printed a letter relaying the rumor that Lord Wellington had “attacked Marshal Soult at Rabastiens, and was repulsed with considerable loss.”

2Monroe evidently enclosed an undated letter to him from Jacob Adams, captain of the cartel ship Fair American, reporting his recent arrival from Liverpool, and forwarding letters. Adams wrote in a postscript: “I took out one hundred Thousand Dollars of our late Loans which Sold readily at paris” (DNA: RG 59, Undated Misc. Letters). “Dr Dudley” was Benjamin Winslow Dudley, a passenger on the Fair American. He wrote Monroe from New York on 16 May 1814, reporting that Adams had cooperated with the commanding officer of the port at Liverpool to keep dispatches from Reuben G. Beasley out of Dudley’s hands, even though Beasley had intended that Dudley should transmit them to the State Department. In addition, Adams had agreed to deliver several unaddressed letters for $50 apiece, leading Dudley to suspect that he was “favoring a treasonible or smugling correspondence.” Adams was not only “betraying his government,” Dudley concluded, but was “so illy qualified to command a ship that he did not obtain the approbation of a single passenger on board” (DNA: RG 59, ML). Dudley was the brother of Thomas Parker Dudley, a private in the Kentucky militia who survived the Battle of the River Raisin despite being wounded and taken prisoner, and the nephew of Lt. Col. William Dudley, killed on 5 Mar. 1813 in the Battle of Fort Meigs on the Maumee River (Mary B. Pratt, comp., Our Relations: Dudley-Pratt Families [Indianapolis, n.d.], 5–6, 16, 22, 26–27, 32–33, 43–47, 50–51). For the Battle of the River Raisin, see PJM-PS, description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends 5:627 n. 4; for the circumstances of William Dudley’s death, see Isaac Shelby to Henry Clay, 16 May 1813, PJM-PS, description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends 6:316–17, 318 n. 3.

3Monroe enclosed a letter dated “May 1814” to him from Barney Smith (4 pp.), a passenger on the Fair American, stating that while in London Smith was repeatedly told by Sir Rupert George, president of the Transport Board, that the twenty-three American prisoners taken to England for trial “had been released from their extra confinement” and were being treated as ordinary prisoners of war. Smith added that his furniture, brought on the cartel, had been detained by the collector at New York, and hoped that his former acquaintance with Monroe would help expedite its release (DNA: RG 59, ML; filed at 1 May 1814).

4JM’s 26 May 1814 reply suggests that the Mr. Hare to whom Monroe referred was not a U.S. citizen, that his letter was forwarded by Alexander J. Dallas, and that it contained a request or offer to serve the U.S. government abroad in some capacity. Neither letter has been found.

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