James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Monroe, [ca. 25 June 1814]

From James Monroe

[ca. 25 June 1814]

The enclosed give a very unpleasant prospect in regard to our affairs with Engd.1

The part of Mr G’s & Mr Bayard’s letter in cypher is the most important.2 The gentlemen are at dinner. It shall be decypherd as soon as they return. I send the whole to communicate what is not in cypher.

I shall return from dinner at 4. when I wish to receive the letters.

I send you also an important number of Cobbet.3

RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers). Unsigned; in Monroe’s hand. Undated; dated 23 July 1814 in the Index to the James Madison Papers; conjectural date assigned here based on comparison with JM’s cabinet meeting memoranda of 23–24 and 27 June 1814, and on evidence in n. 3. For enclosures, see nn.

1Monroe enclosed James A. Bayard’s and Albert Gallatin’s letter to him of 6 May 1814 (for the letter, see Memorandum of Cabinet Meeting, 27 June 1814, and n. 1). Also likely enclosed were Reuben G. Beasley’s two 9 May 1814 letters to Monroe. In the first (2 pp.; DNA: RG 59, CD, London), Beasley stated that the bearer would carry Bayard’s and Gallatin’s dispatch with others, and that the British were inclined to “vigorously” prosecute the war with the United States; in the second (3 pp.; DLC: Monroe Papers), he reported that a large British force was to be sent to America from Bordeaux, and that “moderate” public opinion in England demanded extensive territorial concessions from the United States in exchange for peace.

2The encoded section of the letter contained Bayard’s and Gallatin’s comments regarding the British position on impressment and the role it would play in the peace negotiations.

3Monroe probably forwarded the 7 May 1814 issue of William Cobbett’s Weekly Political Register, which contained an essay entitled “America” that was reprinted in the Daily National Intelligencer on 6 July 1814. In the essay Cobbett called on the British government to repudiate a report that the European peace treaty was to include an agreement that the allies and France would not involve themselves in the war between Great Britain and the United States. He castigated the British mercantile interests that favored pursuit of the war in order to crush the United States’ burgeoning naval and commercial power but acknowledged that Great Britain was presently able and inclined to administer such a blow. The Americans could only hope, Cobbett concluded, that the “moderation and magnanimity” of the Prince Regent would prevail.

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