London April 18. 1806.
I received yesterday a note from Mr. Fox appointing to-morrow (Saturday 19.) for an interview with which I shall of course comply. I met him afterwards and had a Conversation with him in the Queen’s drawing-room, which being of an interesting nature, I hasten to Communicate to you. He took me a side and observed that we must now soon settle our business. I replied that I hoped he was ready to do it. He intimated that he was essentially; that we would begin on Saturday and pursue it without delay ’till it was concluded. Some remarks of his having led the conversation to the merits of the principal topick, I told him that he must leave us in the enjoyment of the trade in question, and pay us for the property taken. To the first proposition he immediately assented. To the second he said there would be objections. He added that he had taken steps to prohibit the further condemnation of our ships & cargoes ⟨as⟩ I had desired, of which he intended to have informed me by note, ⟨b⟩ut had been prevented by other business; he had no objection however ⟨s⟩till to do it. I cannot be positive whether he said that the prohibition extended also to the seizure of our vessels, tho’ I rather think it did. When I see him to-morrow I shall easily ascertain this. He observed ⟨t⟩hat we must make some arrangements to accomodate them in return; that the practice of buying or pretending to buy enemies vessels, as was done in the North ought to be suppressed, and he hoped that I would join him in it. I said that we would do all we could to pre⟨vent⟩ fraudulent practices; that such purchases were rarely made by ⟨our⟩ Citizens, as we were rather sellers than purchasers of Ships. He con⟨sidered⟩ it in that light, and I found wished some precedent from us, w⟨hich⟩ might avail him in the North and make more acceptable at ho⟨me⟩ the accommodation given us in other respects. I left this topic⟨ ⟩ open, having said nothing to compromit myself on it. As the w⟨hole of⟩ this conversation tho’ apart was nevertheless in a publick room ⟨full of⟩ company, it was impossible to make it more precise; I could ⟨not⟩ therefore attempt to ascertain to what extent he was willing to lea⟨ve the⟩ commerce with enemies colonies free. I shall doubtless collect his ⟨idea on⟩ that point to-morrow, since it seems best to hear his proposition ⟨before⟩ I say any thing on it, and I shall not fail in any case to attend ⟨to your⟩ instruction of Jan: 13th.
I have sent you two Copies of a pamphlet entitle⟨d⟩ "Enquiry into the State of the Nation" &c. which is attributed ⟨to Lord⟩ Holland and as I presume with reason. It breathes very lib⟨eral⟩ sentiments towards the U. States, and in Regard to them as ⟨to other⟩ objects is probably intended to prepare the publick mind for ⟨the system⟩ of policy adopted by the present Ministry. It looks towards a ⟨general⟩ peace and may be written to promote it. Communications ⟨have taken⟩ place between this govrt; and that of France lately, which are ⟨supposed to⟩ touch that subject; but as I know nothing on it which the Pap⟨ers do not⟩ contain it is useless for me to hazard conjectures on facts which ⟨are of⟩ a general character and equally well known to you. I am, Sir, with great respect and esteem, Your very obedient Ser⟨vt.⟩
P.S. I have also sent you a work of Lord Sheffield, which treats much on ⟨ou⟩r Subject. He appears to have worked himself up to a pitch of great passion ⟨a⟩nd to mistake facts so obvious to detection, as to allow that apology for it.
The 13th. of Jany. is the Date of the last letter I have from you.
DNA: RG 59--DD-Diplomatic Despatches, Great Britain.