James Madison Papers

Memorandum on Cabinet Meeting, 27 June 1814

Memorandum on Cabinet Meeting

June 27. 1814.

In consequence of the letter from Messrs. Bayard & Gallatin of May 6 or 7.1 and of other accts. from Europe, as to the ascendancy & views of G.B and the dispositions of the Great Contl. powers, the prec[e]ding Question No. 2.2 was put to the Cabinet, and agreed to by Monroe Campbell, Armstrong & Jones; Rush being absent: our Ministers to be instructed, besides trying the other conditions to make a previous trial, to insert or annex some declaration or protest, agst. any inference from the silence of the Treaty on the subject of impressment, that the British claim was admitted or that of the U.S. abandoned.

Ms (DLC); Tr (DLC, series 3).

1Tr has “letters from Messrs. Bayard & Gallatin of May 6.-7.” No correspondence of this description dated 7 May 1814 has been found. JM evidently referred to James A. Bayard’s and Albert Gallatin’s 6 May 1814 letter to James Monroe, stating that with Napoleon’s downfall, the British forces previously employed on the continent would likely be used against the United States; that public opinion in England strongly favored a “prosecution of the war” in America; and on the subject of impressment, that Great Britain would not renounce the practice but might be more likely to discuss reducing the “abuses” associated with it “than to pass it over in silence.” If the United States were to insist that impressment be disavowed, Bayard and Gallatin warned, the peace negotiations would fail. They added that the British government would not appoint peace commissioners until it received an “official communication” of the appointment of U.S. commissioners and their arrival in Europe, hinted that the British would prefer that the negotiations be moved from Gothenburg to the Netherlands or to London, and requested that the U.S. commissioners be given discretion to select the location that seemed most likely to promote a “successful issue” (DLC: Monroe Papers).

2See Memorandum on Cabinet Meeting, 23–24 June 1814.

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