James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Riggin, 6 February 1806

February 6th. 1806

The Vessel by which I intended sending the foregoing having delayed her departure, I have since received your Circulars of the 1st. and 12th. July, and shall act in conformity.

The Press in this country, being subject to many restrictions, few publications of any merit appear, nor have I seen any on the subject of health, in the circle of my district.

By more direct conveyance you will have seen a copy of the treaty of Peace, between this Country and France. It is the common opinion that there are some secret articles in the same relative to Turkey, and that the Emperor of Austria may attempt to gain from that Country, assisted by France, some portion of territory, as an equivalent to what he has lost on this side of Europe.

French troops are now marching from this to take possession of Istria and Dalmatia, and the Countries on this side the Adriatic Gulph, ceded to the Kingdom of Italy.

This town is not yet evacuated by the French, nor is it probable that it will be before the 27th. Inst. being the last day allowed by the treaty for the evacuation A few days after the ratification of peace the army of Italy took the name of that of Naples, the division that was here marched from this and a division of General Marmonts troops, with that General himself, have since been quartered here.

On the arrival of these new troops, our commerce has again been subject to some Vixations. The Ship Fortune of Boston in discharging whilst she had a craft load of Sugar along side, had soldiers put on board, with verbal orders to stop discharging, and the lighter not permitted to leave the Vessel, or the Sugars to be taken on board again. I protested against these proceedings, both to the General and the provisory government, and after three days detention (during which time the Craft load of Sugar was exposed to the accidents of the sea, and inclemencies of the weather) I obtained the releas⟨e⟩ of the Vessel, and permission to discharge, but no satisfactory reason for the arrest was given. Our Vessels were not alone subject to this insult. The Danes and other neutrals were in the same situation, and I am inclined to think the permission for them to discharge was not got, without being paid for. The soldiers remained on board these Vessels some time after they had quitted the Fortune. The reason for this general arrest appears only for the purpose of giving an opportunity to the commander of the port to extort bribes for a renewal of the permission, granted by the Commissary first appointed here by marshale Massena, and who was charged with the army of that General.

The General Marmont has been bargaining some time with the magistracy to quit the Town and territory ⟨with⟩ the whole of his army prior to the time stipulated by treaty The sum he demands is enormous and it is not likely they will agree on the terms, and consequently they will remain untill the last day. I have further to remark that the Generals and officers of all ranks, that have visited this place have manifested an extraordinary avarice, and have not scrupled to satisfy it by resorting to means unknown of amongst civilized nations. At the same time with neutrals they have been careful of being drawn into any official correspondence.

In consequence of the new cessions, the district of my consulate is considerably diminished. That of Fiume and this place are the only sea ports that remain within the limits. The former is an inconsiderable Port, never yet frequented by any of our Vessels.

I have not a copy of the Bond given for the faithful discharge of the duties of my office, but I have no doubt that my former securities will give a renewal of it, to which effect I shall write to them by this opportunity. They all reside in the City of Baltimore. I have the honour to be with perfect respect and consideration Sir Your most obedient Servant

Will. Riggin

DNA: RG 59--CD--Consular Despatches, Trieste.

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