James Madison Papers

From James Madison to James Barbour, 16 April 1818

To James Barbour

Montpellier Apl. 16. 1818

Dear Sir

⟨The las⟩t mail bro⟨ught⟩ me your favor of ⟨the⟩ 11th. and in ⟨than⟩king you ⟨for it?⟩ I do the same for the documents on ⟨f?⟩orn: affairs previously sent me.

Your speech has taken a more correct view of the principle on which the colonial monopoly rests, than has been generally taken of it; and your statistical illustrations have an important bearing on ⟨the⟩ question depending. I entirely agree with the Senate in preferring an absolute prohibition to a prohibitory duty. There is so much justice and fairness in the measure, that if persevered in without ⟨a⟩ny accompaniments irritating the pride ⟨of⟩ ⟨t⟩he nations ha⟨ving⟩ Colonies, it c⟨an no⟩t fail to be successful. ⟨It?⟩ requires nothing ⟨more?⟩ than reciproc⟨ity⟩ ⟨from⟩ any nation & to submit to nothing […]ny, is an honest policy that will carry us to our object with all. I believe that G. B. is the only Power that has attempted t⟨o c⟩onfine a navigation between her Colonies & foreign p⟨orts to her⟩ own vessels, unless there be rece⟨nt⟩ ⟨situa⟩tions wide⟨ly⟩ ⟨s⟩uggested by her example. If I mistake [not] […]ny like the ⟨B⟩ritish regulation was not long ago announced from the Spanish Island of Porto Rico.1 The general practice, with the British exception, has been to open the Colonial ports, when opened at all, to foreign ports equally to Vessels of both parties. With great esteem I offer my friendly regards

James Madison

RC (ViU: Madison Papers). Extensively damaged.

1Whatever the previous impediments to trade, on 13 Mar. 1818, the intendant general of Puerto Rico announced “that all ports and harbors of this island are open and free for any kind of trade without any limitation,” and “that all vessels, whether Spanish or foreign, under neutral or friendly flags, are permitted to sell either the whole or any part of their cargoes in any port of the islands, with entire liberty to procure the most advantageous sale” (Daily National Intelligencer, 8 June 1818).

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