James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George W. Erving, 25 March 1808

No. 42.

⟨   ⟩ March 25, 1808


By the report of the Spanish official as published in ⟨   ⟩ Madrid Gazette, which was referred to in the last post ⟨   ⟩ dispatch, No. 41., it appeared that the Grand Duke of ⟨   ⟩ no positive orders to pass thro’ Madrid with his troops ⟨   ⟩ if ⟨it⟩ should be found necessary to do so, yet that they would not ⟨   ⟩ in accord with the Spanish Government, &ca. &ca. ⟨   ⟩ on the night of the 22nd., the Grand Duke arrived at San ⟨Mar⟩tin, within half a league of this City, & on the 23rd. entered Madrid with near 20,000. men, some Regiments of horse, which ⟨have⟩ arrived with other detached parties yesterday; make the total ⟨abou⟩t 24,000; & there are about 12,000. more at the Escorial. It was conjectured that this unexpected movement, would change ⟨his⟩ Majesty’s purpose of coming to Madrid: yesterday morning however, pursuant to the notification mentioned in my last, he ⟨reached Mad⟩rid: he entered, contrary to custom, on horseback, dressed in the uniform of, & accompanied by the guards du corps, & surro⟨unded⟩ by the whole body of grandees: he was received with the gen⟨eral⟩ acclamations of immense crowds, who thronged the streets in his way to the palace.

The former King & Queen were left at Aranjuez, fr⟨om⟩ whence, in a few days, they go to Badajos.

The fair prospects which are opening for this Country, und⟨er⟩ the Reign of a King so universally beloved, & so well disposed, which the first acts of his administration have so strongly enco⟨u⟩raged, are very much clouded by apprehensions on the side of France, founded not merely on the sudden entry of her troops but on the language & conduct of the Grand Duke, since he has been here.

How this may be approved of by the Emperor, whose arrival within two or three days is now officially announced, rema⟨ins⟩ yet to be seen; but certain it is, that the behaviour of the Grand Duke amounts not only to a dissatisfaction with all whi⟨ch⟩ has passed, but an absolute refusal to recognize his present Maj⟨esty⟩ and there are no slight grounds for apprehending that his inten⟨tion⟩ is to protect the Prince of Peace & to reinstate the King. Hence, as what was apparently the first object of the Emperor has been effected by the people, it is supposed that the ground is changed, & that something more extensive is to be ⟨   ⟩ such plea as the late transactions may furnish; if this be so, the misfortunes of this people, are not at an end. I have taken perhaps the most exaggerated statement of the french force here & in Portugal, when I put it in my last letter ⟨   ⟩ at 250,000. it is evident that great pains are taken to conceal the exact fact; but no opinion states it at less than 150,000.

I have the honor herewith to inclose copy of Mr. Cevallos’s communication respecting the abdication of the late King, of my answer; and of his note respecting his own continuance in office; on which I have merely returned him the usual complimentary felicitations. With sentiments of perfect Consideration & Respect, Sir, Your very obt. hble Serva⟨nt⟩

George W Ervi⟨ng⟩

P. S. I have to day had the honor to receive the triplica⟨te⟩ of your dispatch, dated October 18th. it was sent to ⟨me⟩ from Lisbon, whither it had been transmitted from Tangiers.

G. W. E.

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

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