James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Appleton, 30 July 1806

Leghorn 30th. July 1806.


Captain Story of the ship Connecticut who is the bearer ⟨of⟩ my respects of the 14th. inst., will also convey to you the ⟨pre⟩sent letter. On the 19th. instant the garrison of Gaeta ⟨sur⟩render’d. After the mortal wound which Prince ⟨Phi⟩llipstadt receiv’d who commanded the fortress, and ⟨the⟩ beseigers were on the point to enter the breach, the ⟨gar⟩rison capitulated; consisting of 7000 men, under the ⟨con⟩dition of retiring into Sicily, and not bear arms ⟨aga⟩inst the french for the terms of 18 months. The ⟨sing⟩ularly favorable situation of Gaeta for defense, especially while they remain’d undisturb’d on the Side of the Sea, ga⟨ve⟩ to the Coalition of Sicily a reasonable expectation of mai⟨n⟩taining this post against all the power of the french, and thus remain a continual thorn in the Side of the new ⟨king.⟩

The siege was conducted by Massena, and I am to⟨ld⟩ that the utmost intelligence has been discover’d in the conq⟨uest⟩ of what appear’d hitherto impregnable. The affairs of Calabria have not taken so favorable a turn, for t⟨he⟩ english having landed some forces, which being join’d by the disconted and unwary, has excited no small alarm ⟨at⟩ the capital; however, Massena has been sent at the he⟨ad⟩ of 20,000 men, unconfin’d by the impediment of instruc⟨tions.⟩ Of course ensues the burning of villages, the immediat⟨e exe⟩cution of those, found in arms; with all the train of ⟨evi⟩ls which fall to the lot, of what is term’d rebellious ⟨su⟩bjects. My own opinion is, that this flame of rebellion ⟨wi⟩ll be suppress’d by the unqualified measures of Massena, ⟨bu⟩t If I might hazard another, it would be, that he ⟨wi⟩ll never extinguish it; and that if the Neapolitans ⟨are⟩ not able by open force to free themselves from their ⟨ne⟩w masters, that all the little arts of individual revenge ⟨an⟩d treachery, will at least render uneasy the possession ⟨of⟩ Naples to its present holders. The fortresses of Stagno, ⟨an⟩d Cataro on the Adriatic are now completely in the ⟨po⟩ssession of the french, as likewise is, the republic of Ragusa; when the latter was taken possession of by General Lauriston, he in his proclamation, Consoled the inhabitants with the prospect of returning to their former independence, whenever the Russians shall have evacua⟨ted⟩ Corfou, Zante, &’ca. &’ca. I have been inform’d, by a frie⟨nd⟩ just return’d from Rome, and I am inclin’d to beli⟨eve⟩ his information is correct, that the french governm⟨ent⟩ has demanded of the Pope the peaceable relinquishm⟨ent⟩ of his capital; but that his holiness replied, "it i⟨s⟩ true I have not the power of resisting by arms y⟨our⟩ partensions, but my consent shall never be exto⟨rted⟩ from me for the delivery of Rome". However t⟨here⟩ is no doubt remaining, that they will very shortly take possession of it, tho’ the Castle of St. Angelo what was formerly the tomb of Adrian, is capable ⟨of⟩ long resistance. The french have now 2,500 troops ⟨in⟩ Civita Vecchia, which is more than is requisite ⟨to⟩ become masters of all the dominions of the Pope.

I am apprehensive Sir that I have too far trespass’d on your time by this conveyance, and ⟨t⟩hat my researches for political or useful intelligence may not corrispond with my intentions. Accept Sir the unfeign’d respect of Your Most Obedt. Servant

Th: Appleton

DNA: RG 59—CD—Consular Despatches, Leghorn.

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