James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Jarvis, 18 February 1808

Lisbon 18th. Feby. 1808


The original of the preceding of the 29 Jany. went by the Brig Orlando Captn. Baty, and the duplicate with the originals of the 1st. & 5th. Feby, by the Brig Daniel Captn. Baill; Since then nothing material has taken place but that of the disarming of the Militia, of which the decree is inclosed. Some dissatisfaction has been excited by the contribution but it has not extended to any thing beyond that of private murmurs nor does there appear to be the least disposition on the part of the peop⟨le⟩ to proceed farther, which is certainly prudent, as not the smallest beni⟨fit⟩ would arise, but much injury wo⟨uld⟩ inevitably result from resistance.

Owing to the blockade ⟨of⟩ the port, the Brig Maria in ⟨which⟩ Miss Sparhawk & Mr. Jarvis cam⟨e as⟩ passengers, was obliged to proceed ⟨to⟩ St. Lucar, near Cadiz which will re⟨n⟩der it necessary for me to leave he⟨re⟩ for that place, for a short time. As ⟨it⟩ is probable, that the President, as ⟨well⟩ as yourself Sir may know the circ⟨um⟩stances & feelings which imperious⟨ly⟩ call on me to shew this respect⟨ful⟩ attention to that Young Lady; ⟨I am⟩ persuaded that both will approve a short departure from my post ⟨on⟩ such an occasion, at a time w⟨hen⟩ the public have so little cal⟨l⟩ for services in this place, there be⟨ing⟩ only four vessels of the United Sta⟨tes⟩ now in port, three of which wil⟨l⟩ leave here before my departure ⟨and the⟩ other shortly after, to facilitate whi⟨ch I⟩ shall make every arrangement ⟨be⟩fore I set away.

A dispatch from Mr Erving received by a Gentleman just from Madrid will go by the Ship Sally & Hitty, Captn. Fleming for Philada. by which conveyance this letter goes; and another from that Gentleman will be forwarded by the Brig Fame, Captn. Howe for Providence. I shall also send by this conveyance all the decrees of Genl. Junot to this date.

With entire Respect I have the honor to be Sir Yr. Mo: Ob: Servt.

William Jarvis

P.S. After the British orders of the 11 Novr. the declaration by Sir Sidney Smith of the Blockade of Porto became of so little consequence that I had almost forgot to inclose a copy. It was sent into St. Uber by a flag of truce, transmitted to General Junot & by His Excy. sent to me under cover. Another flag of truce came in tw⟨o⟩ days ago, with the wounded prisoners out of ⟨a⟩ gun boat which the British cut ⟨off⟩ from an exposed situation, a few day⟨s⟩ before. The General refused to recei⟨ve⟩ them, & positively forbid the entry of any others.

It is currently reported th⟨at⟩ the Spanish General at St. Uber h⟨as⟩ embargoed all the Grain in the Alentejo, (the principal grain p⟨ro⟩vince in Portugal) for the use ⟨of⟩ the Spanish Army. Probably t⟨his⟩ may be alluded to in the decr⟨ee⟩ on this subject. It is certain ⟨that⟩ there exists no cordiality betw⟨een⟩ the commanders.

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

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