James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Pinkney, 5 June 1808

London. June 5. 1808.

I have the Honor to acknowledge the Receipt ⟨of⟩ your Letter of the 4th. of April by Mr Bethune, ⟨tog⟩ether with the printed and other Copies of ⟨the let⟩ters mentioned in it.

I am to have an Interview with Mr. Canning ⟨in⟩ a few Days (which he will agree to consider ⟨ex⟩tra official) in the Course of which I intend ⟨to⟩ press, by every argument in my Power, the ⟨pro⟩priety of their abandoning immediately their ⟨Ord⟩ers in Council, and of proposing by a Minister ⟨to⟩ America (the only becoming Course, as you ⟨very⟩ properly suggest) Reparation for the ⟨out⟩rage on the Chesapeake. I shall, for obvious ⟨reas⟩ons, do this informally as my own Act.

Your unanswerable Reply to Mr Erskine’s Letter ⟨of⟩ the 23d. of February has left nothing to be ⟨urg⟩ed against the Orders in Council upon ⟨the⟩ Score of Right, and there may be Room to ⟨hop⟩e that the Effect, which that Reply can ⟨har⟩dly have failed to produce upon the Minds ⟨of the⟩ Ministers, as well by its Tone as by its ⟨Rea⟩soning, will, if followed up, become ⟨i⟩n actual Circumstances decisive.

The Discussion, which Mr. Rose’s preliminary ⟨in⟩ the Affair of the Chesapeake has undergone, gives Encouragement to an Expectation that this Government will not now be backward to relinquish it, and to renew their overtur⟨es⟩ of Satisfaction, in a Way more consistent with Reason, & more likely to produce a just & honorable Result.

You may be assured that I will not commit our Government by any thing I shall do or say, and that, if I cannot make Things better than they are I will not make them worse. My View of the Course which our Honor & Interests have required & still require is, as you know, in precise Conformity with that of the President; but, if it were otherwise, I should make his View & not my own, the Rule of my Conduct. I have the Honor to be, with the highest Esteem & Consideration, Sir. your most obedient humble Servant

Wm. Pinkney

DNA: RG 59--DD-Diplomatic Despatches, Great Britain.

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