James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Lee, 8 March 1808


Bordeaux March 8, 1808


The enclosed is a copy of my last respects. The Consignees of two of our Vessels under seizure in this port have received advices from their correspondents at Paris that the Emperor instead of deciding on their cases as it was expected he would do on the 2d. inst had on that day ordered them laid over for further consideration. I believe this information correct.

We have no intelligence respecting the operations or destination of the army of Spain that can be depended on. Report says a considerable body of them have landed at Ceuta. The Imperial Decree against Algiers which I have the honor to enclose may have given rise to this rumour. The object of the landing it is said is first to prevent G Britain from receiving supplies of Corn from Barbary and then after subjecting all the States from Morocco to Egypt to plant Colonies which are to produce Cotton, Sugar, Coffee Tobacco &c. The reasoning of men in place on this subject would make you smi⟨le.⟩ They believe the Emperor can create Colonies which ⟨are⟩ to supply all their wants with the same facility ⟨&⟩ rapidity as he finishes a campaign.

The Literati at Paris are all engaged to find out how they can supply the want of Colonial produce, and English merchandi⟨se⟩ by indigenous productions. The Moniteur announ⟨ces⟩ a work on the Culture of Cotton. The enormous ⟨price⟩ of Tobacco say 300 fs. PrCent., and the low pric⟨e⟩ of wines has induced several large proprietors ⟨in⟩ this vicinity to pull up a part of their vines ⟨to⟩ make room for Tobacco, and this with very litt⟨le⟩ regard to soil. France says the editor of ⟨the⟩ Telegraphe can not only flourish without foreign articles but feed all Europe. Her Mineral Ki⟨ngdom⟩ contains all that is fabricated at Birmingham, Sheffield, Derbyshire, and London, such as Iron steel, gold, Silver China, and delftware. The animal Kingdom all that is manufactured at Leeds, Yorkshire, & Worcestershire such as cloths, Shawls, hose, flannel &c. and her vegetable Kingdom may be brought to comprise, Cotton, Sugar Coffee &c. which would destroy the English Colonies. The same genius which has led her armies to glory is do all this and to establish thereby the liberty and independence of the Continent which has been so long tributary to England.

There appears to be some new difficulties with the Porte, which leads many to believe that the Greek as well as Roman Empire is again to be established. Some think that ⟨the⟩ plans of Alexander and Napoleon for the division of Europe begin to be developed & that before three months are over we shall witness new wonders. With great respect I have the honor to remain Your Obt. St.

Wm. Lee

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

Index Entries