James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Bowdoin, Jr., 20 May 1806

Paris May 20th. 1806.


Since my arrival in europe, I have had the honour to address you on the 18th. of June, & 8th. of July from St. Ander: on ye. 31st. of July & 3d. of Septr. from London: on ye. 7th. & 27th. of dec: feb. 17. & mar. 9th. from Paris; since which I have received your circular letter of ⟨y⟩e. 24th. of July; & your Letter of ye. 18th. of mar. last by Mr. Skipwith, wherein you acknowledge ye. rect. only of my letters of ye. 18th. of June & 31st. of July, which I suppose from the hurry of business may have escaped you; and that ⟨t⟩hose written from Paris had not arrived: I ought to observe ⟨to⟩ you, that I make it a rule to forward Duplicates.

With respect to my Letters from Paris, that of ye. ⟨7⟩th. of dec. I have ascertained, could not reach you, as I ⟨e⟩xpected: Capt. Leond. Jarvis of Boston commanded ⟨a⟩ fast sailing brig bound from Roche’lle for Savannah, ⟨w⟩as to sail in Ballast about ye. middle of dec. & knowing ⟨bo⟩th the owner & Captain, who were at Paris, I thot. myself ⟨ve⟩ry fortunate in ye. opportunity of transmitting it; but owing to ye. tempestuous weather of the last season, and the prevalence of westerly winds principally, the vessel di⟨d⟩ not actually sail until ye. 3d. of feb: the Duplicate was sent to England to ye. Care of Mr. Monroe to be forwarded: Mr. John Sullivan mercht. of Boston, ye. bearer of it, was detained twenty nine days at Helversloues with a vessel ready to embrace the first wind; but he was not able to cross ye. Channel during that period; and did not deliver Mr. Monroe my dispatches unti⟨l⟩ ye. 5th. of feb.: When I heard of these circumstances, it was too late to remedy the Consequences; and I mention them, as I fee⟨l⟩ you may have entertained an opinion, that I may have bee⟨n⟩ inattentive in duly advising you of ye. business committed to me.

I have this day submitted a detailed view of our affairs with Spain & of my present situation to the President, that he may see the state of ye. affairs entru⟨st⟩ed to me, & how far my conduct is, or has been proper. I must refer you to that Letter, as it contains a number of important Facts & circumstances, which it would be very improper to be made public; but which I have nevertheless thot. it my duty to commmunicate to the President. This mode of Proceeding has arisen from no want of Respect to you Sir, or to your Office; but has grown out of the necessity of the case, & the prudence & discretion, which ye. situation of things require. I shall take care to write to you by every safe opportunity as soon as occurrences of any importance shall ⟨ta⟩ke place. Please to present my most respectful Regards to the President, & my respects to Genl. Dearborn, to whom I shall write by this opportunity, if I can find time. I have the honour to subscribe myself with the highest Respect & attachment. Sir, Yr faithful & obed Servant

James Bowdoin

DNA: RG 59--DD-Diplomatic Despatches, Spain.

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