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was before the Senate yesterday, who adjourned about 4 or 5 o'Clock without a decision. Whether this result was produced by the rule which arms a single member with a veto agst a decision in one day on a bill, or foretells a rejection of the Bill I have not yet heard. The temper of that body is known to be equivocal. Such a measure, even for a limited and short time, is always liable to adverse as well as favorable considerations; and its operations at this moment, will add fuel to party discontent, and interested clamor. But it is a rational & provident measure, and will be relished by a greater portion of the Nation, than an omission of it. If it could have been taken sooner and for a period of 3 or 4 months, it might have enlisted an alarm of the B. Cabinet, for their Peninsular System on the side of Concessions to us; and wo have shaken their obstinacy, if to be shaken at all; the successes on that Theatre being evidently their hold on the P. Reg. and the hold of both on the vanity & prejudices of the Nation. Whether if adopted for 60 days, it may beget apprehensions of a protraction, and thence lead to admissible overtures, before the sword is stained with blood, cannot be foreknown with certainty. Such an effect is not to be counted upon. You will observe that Liverpool was Sec? for the Foreign Dep ad
a general embargo be laid on all vessels now in port, or hereafter arriving, for the period of sixty days, I recommend the immediate passage of a law to that effect.” (Annals of Cong., 12th Cong., Part 2, p. 1587.) He intended it as a war measure, but the Senate, in altering the period to ninety days, made it rather a measure of negotiation.
interim, & that Castlereagh is the definitive successor of Wellesley. The resignation of this last, who has reco no other app is a little mysterious. There is some reason for believing that he is at variance with Percival, or that he distrusts the stability of the existing Cabinet, and courts an alliance with the Grenville party, as likely to overset it. If none of that party desert their colours, the calculation cannot be a very bad one; especially in case of war with the U.S., in addition to the distress of Br trade & manufactures, and the inflammation in Ireland; to say nothing of possible reverses in Spain & Portugal, which alone would cut up the Percival ascendency by the roots. From France we hear nothing. The delay of the Hornet is inexplicable, but on the reproachful supposition that the F. Gov! is waiting for the final turn of things at London, before it takes its course, which justice alone ought to prescribe towards
If this be found to be its game, it will impair the value of concessions if made, and give to a refusal of them, consequences it may little dream of.
Be assured of my constant and sincerest attachment.
I understand the Embargo will pass the Senate to-day, and possibly with an extension of the period to 75 or 90 days.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
WASHINGTON, Apl 24, 1812 DEAR SIR,—I have just reco your favor of the 17th. The same mail brings me the “ Proceedings of the
Gov! of the U. S. relative to the Batture,” for which you will accept my thanks.
I had not supposed that so great a proportion of produce, particularly of Wheat & flour, was still in the hands of the farmers. In Penn? it was known to be the case. In N. Y. almost the whole of the last crop, is in the Country, though chiefly in the hands of the Merchants & Millers. The measure of the Embargo was made a difficult one, both as to its duration & its date, by the conflict of opinions here, and of local interests elsewhere; and to these causes are to be added, that invariable opposition, open with some & covert with others, which have perplexed & impeded the whole course of our public measures. You will have noticed that the Embargo as recommended to Cong? was limited to 60 days. Its extension to 90 proceeded from the united votes of those who wished to make it a negotiating instead of a war measure, of those who wished to put off the day of war as long as possible, if ultimately to be met, & of those whose mercantile constituents had ships abroad, which would be favored in their chance of getting safely home. Some also who wished & hoped to anticipate the expiration of the terms, calculated on the ostensible postponement of the war question as a ruse agst the Enemy. At present great differences of opinion exist, as to the time & form of entering into hostilities; whether at a very early or later day, or not before the end of the 90 days, and whether by a general declaration, or by a commencement with letters of M. & Reprisal.
The question is also to be brought forward for an adjournment for 15 or 18 days. Whatever may be the decision on all these points, it can scarcely be doubted that patience in the holders of Wheat & flour at least, will secure them good prices; Such is the scarcity all over Europe, and the dependence of the W. Indies on our supplies. Mr. Maury writes me, on the 21st of March, that flour had suddenly risen to 164 dollars, and a further rise looked for. And it is foreseen, that in a State of War, the Spanish & Portuguese flags & papers real or counterfeit, will afford a neutral cover to our produce as far as wanted, in ports in the favor of G. B. Licences therefore on our part will not be necessary; which tho' in some respects mitigating the evils of war, are so pregnant with abuses of the worst sort, as to be liable in others to strong objections. As managed by the belligerents of Europe they are sources of the most iniquitous & detestable practices.
The Hornet still loiters. A letter from Barlow to Granger, fills us with serious apprehensions, that he is burning his fingers with matters which will work great embarrassment & mischief here; and which his instructions could not have suggested."
· The allusion is to Barlow's efforts to negotiate a full commercial convention. April 23, Monroe wrote to him: "I will observe generally that the project is thought to be liable to objections which would delay if it did not defeat here, a Treaty corresponding with it. A formal Treaty was not contemplated by your instructions. The objects contemplated by them were ist, The admission of our productions into France on beneficial terms. 2nd, security for our neutral and national rights on the high seas, and 3dly, provision for the Rambouillet and other spoliations; and these objects it was expected might be obtained by
In E. Florida, Mathews has been playing a strange comedy, in the face of common sense, as well as of his instructions. His extravagances place us in the most distressing dilemma.
Always & affe? Yrs.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
WASHINGTON May 25, 1812 DEAR SIR,—The inclosed letters came under cover to me, by the Hornet. France has done nothing towards adjusting our differences with her. It is understood that the B. & M. Decrees are not in force agot the U. S. and no contravention of them can be established agst her. On the contrary positive cases rebut the allegation. Still the manner of the F. Govt. betrays the design of leaving G. B. a pretext for enforcing her O. in C. And in all other respects, the grounds of our complaints remain the same. The utmost address has been played off on Mr. Barlow's wishes & hopes; in much that at the Departure of the Hornet which had been so long detained for a final answer without its being obtained, he looked to the return of the Wasp which had just arrived, without despair of making her the Bearer of some
Decrees or Acts of the French Government adopted separately and independently by itself.”—D. of S. MSS. Instr.
i The instructions were to take possession of East Florida, if the Spanish governor was disposed to surrender it.
If a foreign power should attempt to take possession he was to take effective measures for its occupation.-Annals of Cong., 12th Cong., Part 2, p. 1687. Matthews, however, organized a force and took possession of Amelia Island. See Henry Adams, vi, 237, et seq.