James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George W. Erving, 19 April 1808

Madrid April 19 1808

Dear Sir

My letters to you respecting late Events

here ⟨   ⟩ viz

⟨   ⟩ No 41 ⟨   ⟩ Postscripts 18th 21st &

22nd. No 42. March 25. No 43 April 10.

Private No 32. March 15. No 33 April ⟨   ⟩

No. 34. April 12th

King Ferdinand has advanced from Burgos to

⟨   ⟩ on the 18th and

⟨   ⟩ that he will go further. ⟨   ⟩

⟨   ⟩ information that the Emperor

did not reach ⟨   ⟩ till the 14th.

Beauharnois appears disposed to linger here as

long ⟨   ⟩ suffer him on the 1st

⟨   ⟩ order of recall

from the Emperor & ⟨   ⟩ said Mr.

⟨   ⟩ the necessary ⟨   ⟩

does not ⟨   ⟩ of his character.

Yesterday the greater part of the garrison moved

from Madrid, & encamped in the vicinity; there

remains only those of the imperial guard in a great

proportion cavalry ⟨   ⟩ from 5 to 6000 men.

These are all the circumstances of importance which have occurred since my last. The recall of B. may (as before explained) somewhat Encourage the hope of an amicable adjustment, but has no further bearing upon the subject: the Removal of the troops has rather an unpleasant appearance; it seems to have been done under an apprehension that unfavorable news received from Bonaparte would instantly produce an insurrection of the people, (a case not at all improbable) & hence it is to be inferred that the G. D. does not expect anything very satisfactory from that quarter. For the rest I will mention what I received the day before yesterday, as it were officially, from one of his principal agents; & many are Employed Jaegeres. He told me that he had something very agreeable to communicate to me, that he had two conferences with the G. D. in which his imperial highness had been pleased freely to expose the opinions & views of the Emperor upon late transactions, ⟨   ⟩ in the name of his agent, a relation of Mr Talleyrand) had the G. D.’s permission ⟨to⟩ make them known to others. That the Emperor did not approve of what had lately passed, & the ⟨   ⟩ in which Ferdd. had become king, & his old ⟨   ⟩ after Charles set aside; that he had come hither with an intention of giving a constitution to his people & putting their government into a state to make the people happy & prosperous,; (Code Napoleon) ⟨   ⟩ that Ferdinand passed, had disappointed him of the popularity which he should otherwise have ⟨   ⟩ amongst the Spaniards; (here Mr C. doubtless exceeded his instructions) that he did not choose to ⟨   ⟩ the appearance of having influenced such ⟨a⟩ revolution as had taken place, by his presence & of forcing at the head of his Armies Ferdinand to marry his niece, & that tho he woud give his ⟨niece⟩ readily to the prince of Asturias, he coud not under such circumstances give her to King Ferdinand. This is ⟨   ⟩ Extremely delicate but ⟨   ⟩ that therefore on these Considerations he coud not imagine Ferdinand ⟨   ⟩ which he woud have ⟨   ⟩ though ⟨   ⟩ somewhat on their ⟨   ⟩ that he did not wish, nor woud he accept of a single inch of territory, that neither woud he ⟨   ⟩ question of the prince of Peace, but that he, as well as the Queen Shoud be set aside, that Charles Shoud assume the govmt. ⟨   ⟩ the P. of Asturias might then Marry & the ⟨   ⟩ Charles might then abdicate to his Son if he woud but it must be in a Regular Manner.

If all this coud pass bona fide Exactly as the plan is laid down, it woud be well; for Charles does not really now desire to Reign, & the P. of P. & Queen being Removed from him woud desire it less but if the Emperor wishes to gain the respect of the Spanish people, he has a much shorter & more certain & Safer course to that object in immediately acknowledging Ferdinand, and he may without any difficulty be set at his Ease, both with respect to the odium which he apprehends incurring on account of the revolution (a revolution which is received as a blessing by every man in Spain) and as to the abdication of Charles who in ⟨   ⟩rite of Some thing which has been said and is saying to him, with a view to persuade him that he has not voluntarily abdicated & still persists in believing that he has voluntarily abdicated, that he does not desire to be again placed on the throne.

Mr Chambon concluded by telling me that I was at liberty to mention these things (providing I woud not quote him) to which I assured him that I would take particular care neither to name him nor a circumstance of the matter which he had communicated since I did not chuse to be at ⟨a⟩ll insinuated in creating an impression Either ⟨o⟩n one side or the other, considering it my duty to Stand entirely aloof from all these transactions.

I think that you will now see precisely the state of things in all their bearings & therefo⟨re⟩ I refrain from further comment. The people will be contented if Ferdinand be made so. The best way ⟨   ⟩ is (if possible) to enter into immediate concert & accord with his father on all points, but unhappily a baring the way is the queen & thro’ her the interests of the P. of P. Ferdinand ⟨   ⟩ distrusts his father, & the father is an honest worthy man. Hence if ultimately any mischief arises to Spain out of these family difficulties ⟨   ⟩ one or the other will be in fault. Dear Sir, with sentiments of true respect & Esteem Your most obliged & ot St

George W Erving

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

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