James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Richard Shippey Hackley, 7 June 1808

Consulate of the U. S. San Lucar de Barrameda 7th. June. 1808


Herewith I have the honor to hand you Copy of my respects under date 31st. March by the Ship Connecticut to New york and I now wait upon you with the return from this office for the last six months ending the 31st. Ulto, "the Dispatch" by which I forward this, being the last vessel of our nation in the ports of this district. I send you Copy of an order recieved from Mr. Erving two posts since ⟨b⟩ut it came too late even for presentation, And I understand from my correspondent at Algeciras that the privateersmen calculating upon some ⟨f⟩avorable change in the temper of the government, especially, towards ⟨su⟩ch of our Vessels as came under the decree of January 3/ 8t. have hurried ⟨   ⟩ their trials in that Tribunal & consequently obtained the condemnation ⟨of⟩ 12 or 13 vessels & Cargoes constituting all in that port two or three excepted. ⟨A⟩ppeals have been entered in all cases and altho’ the determination may ⟨pre⟩tty certainly be favorable in all cases still the evil is scarcely lessened. The ⟨Em⟩peror Napoleon did not approach the Capital of this Kingdom (as ⟨   ⟩ expected) nearer than Bayonne, at, which place he was attended by ⟨Cha⟩rles the 4th. & Ferdinand with every member of the Royal family ⟨and⟩ with them the prince of peace who had been formally demanded ⟨by⟩ the Duke of Berg as a member of the Legion of Honor. Events, ⟨and⟩ Consequences of this assemblage may be very important to all ⟨Euro⟩pe. Charles the 4th. when at Bayonne protested against his ab⟨dica⟩tion of the Crown, in favor of his son, declaring it to have been ⟨the⟩ Result of necessity & not a voluntary renunciation. He was ⟨then⟩ acknowledged by the French Emperor (& his favorite the Prince of Peace cloathed with the Badge of Virtue & Innocence) & immed⟨iately⟩ the duke of Berg was declared Regent of the Kingdom & but a short perio⟨d⟩ elapsed before there appeared a formal renunciation of the Crown in favo⟨r⟩ of the French Emperor by Charles the 4th. his Son & each member of the House of Bourbon. Charles his Consort & the Prince of Peace proce⟨eded⟩ to Fontanbleau which is intended as their future residence, Ferdinand, & ⟨his⟩ Brothers to Bourdeaux or Amiens probably to the latter place. Duri⟨ng⟩ all these singular events the most entire tranquility appeared to prev⟨ail⟩ and the orders of the New Regent had the appearance of being ever⟨y⟩ where respected. In the mean time there was certainly a general & well ⟨or⟩ganised arrangement for a powerfull opposition to these measures. In ⟨conse⟩quence of an Express from Seville on the 27th. Ulto the people of Cadiz & ⟨gene⟩rally in all the Towns in this neighbourhood rose en mass. At Cadiz ⟨they⟩ called upon the Captain General, the Marquiss of Solano (the p⟨   ⟩ of Moreau) to Give them arms. This was complied with partially on ⟨the⟩ day following and a promise to procure the delivery of the French ⟨Squad⟩ron in two days, consisting of 5 Sail of the Line & 1 frigate. This la⟨st⟩ promise probably produced the Catastrophe that followed, on th⟨e⟩ ⟨   ⟩ the people in the evening assembled tumultuously before the Gove⟨rnor’s⟩ door being irritated by a proclamation issued by him the day prece⟨ding.⟩ They demanded his person, which demand not being complied w⟨ith⟩ an attack was made on his House. Solano fled over the tops ⟨of⟩ Several houses & took refuge in that of a neighbour, where he w⟨as⟩ discovered, dragged from thence by the multitude, who vied with ⟨each other⟩ in acts of barbarity. Finally he fell covered with more than ⟨   ⟩ at the plaza San Juan de Dios. Some other acts like this have occurred. On the 1st. Inst an Armistice of Eight months was signed at Cadiz between the Commissioners sent for that purpose from Seville & the Commissioners from the Blockading Squadron off Cadiz And a Treaty will probably soon follow. Ferdinand the 7th. is every where proclaimed ⟨a⟩nd the affairs of the Kingdom (of which Seville is declared the permanent ⟨C⟩apital) are directed by a Council of 24 or 26 members, two of which are ⟨ta⟩ken from every order of the people and as far as Information can be ob⟨tai⟩ned there is the appearance of entire union throughout this nation. All ⟨natur⟩ales between the ages of 18 & 50 are enrolled & the force now on foot is ⟨pe⟩rhaps not incorrectly estimated at 500,000 Infantry & 80,000 Cavalry ⟨bes⟩ides artillery. In the mean time Commissioners were Sent from Seville ⟨to⟩ the French Emperor demanding Ferdinand the 7th. which has been refus⟨ed⟩ & a formal declaration of war has followed this refusal. The French ⟨flee⟩t at Cadiz have refused to Surrender & have assumed a defensive posture. ⟨Pre⟩parations are therefore making for an attack on this Squadron which ⟨will⟩ take place in two or three days. I have probably stepped without ⟨the⟩ immediate line of my duty in some part of the Subject of this ⟨lett⟩er by attempting in as summary a way as possible to give you a ⟨ske⟩tch of the very important events that have lately occurred in this ⟨Kin⟩gdom but I immagine they will be viewed by you with considerable ⟨inte⟩rest. This nights mail brings an account of the defeat of the ⟨Fre⟩nch Rochfort Squadron by the Brittish. I have not been able ⟨to as⟩certain the correctness of the report tho’ it seems to be generally ⟨credi⟩ted. With Sentiments of perfect Respect & Esteem I have the honor to be Sir your mo obdt. Servt

Richd. S. Hackley

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

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