In Charleston February 10: 1806
I had the pleasure of dropping you a line lately & I now send another acquainting you of my safe arrival in this City after a long & the latter part of it very boisterous passage in a Danish Ship I found at Lisbon. I found my Children all I could expect or wish but I soon saw my long absence had extremely injured my affairs, & if my Estate had not been a very large & one of the most productive ones in the country I do not know what might have been the consequences. I am now busily employed in endeavouring to repair the losses occasioned by my absence so as to enable me to go on to the Northward in the Spring & to pay my respects to the President at which time I will bring my accounts with me. it may be a little late in the Spring for as I have been absent five summers my friends fear the first Summer here may treet me as a stranger & think it is best for me to be at the Northward & in the high country the first Summer, so that by coming a little late say June, I answer two ends, seeing the President & yourself & avoiding the summer here.
All Charleston & the country too are sorry Mr. Freneau is not appointed Collector but I tell him it is his own fault--& that I am sure had the President known he would have accepted, he would have had the preference. I enclose you my account continued up to 25 ’October inclusive the day I took leave & ended my mission.
The one I sent you & the enclosed one are sent as sketches only of what I think ought to be allowed me, but as I told you before Money is no object with me, & you shall settle it as You think proper & liberal when I arrive.
Notwithstanding the unfortunate differences occasioned by our claims & acts respecting what the Spaniards call Florida & the french claims, I was no less astonished than pleased at the affectionate & more than polite manner in which the King & Queen took leave of me, & particularly Mr. Cevallos whose manner was to use the same word again particularly affectionate & impressive. Mr. Erving ⟨Ewing⟩ was present. This convinced me as I always wrote you that they knew that although I had been obliged to be a little more firm or foras with them than was agreeable to my natural inclination, yet that the language he held of "Our government” having been guilty of insult & outrage & that it had lessened “its character" (which weas his Words) would have justified me & perhaps by the law of Nations called upon me immediately to quit that Court & that by not doing so I had prevented what would have taken place among many other nations after such a direct affront, that is by then a rupture or a suspension of Intercourse. I took leave in a manner to avoid the sending me the usual present, & Should They notwithstanding, which may be the case, send it out to You, please have it returned to the Spanish Court in a manner not to give offence. Please present me always affectionately & respectfully to the President & our friends at Washington & believe me Dear Sir with regard & Esteem Yours Truly
Since my return many of my respectable Friends of influence ⟨wish to make me the next Governor, but I am so tired of⟩ public Business & feel so ha⟨ppy in t⟩he Bosom of my Country & friends that I feel ⟨no o⟩ther desire of Office unless indeed the Country should be involved in difficulties, & then it is the duty of every one to be ready in any office his Country may assign him.
DLC: Papers of James Madison.