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Whereas the Honorable David Montague Erskine, His Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, has, by the order and in the name of his Sovereign, declared to this Government that the British orders in council of January and November, 1807, will have been withdrawn as respects the United States on the roth day of June next:1
· Erskine wrote the Secretary of State, Robert Smith, as follows:
WASHINGTON, April 18th 1809. SIR,
I have the Honour of informing you, that His Majesty, having been persuaded that the honourable Reparation which he had caused to be tendered for the unauthorized attack upon the American Frigate Chesapeake, would be accepted by the Government of the United States, in the same Spirit of conciliation, with which it was proposed, has instructed me, to express His Satisfaction, should such a happy Termination of that affair take Place—not only as having removed a painful cause of Difference, but as affording a fair Prospect of a complete and cordial understanding, being reestablished between the two Countries.
The favourable Change in the Relations of His Majesty with the United States, which has been produced by the Act, (usually termed the Non-Intercourse Act,) passed in the last Session of Congress, was also anticipated by His Majesty, and has encouraged a further Hope, that a Reconsideration of the existing Differences may lead to their satisfactory adjustment.
On these Grounds and Expectations, I am instructed to communicate to the American Government, His Majesty's Determination of sending to the United States, an Envoy extraordinary invested with full Powers to conclude a treaty on all the Points of the Relations between the two Countries.
In the mean Time, with a View to contribute to the attainment of so desirable an object, His Majesty would be willing to withdraw His orders in Council of January and November, 1807, so far as respects the United States, in the Persuasion, that the President would issue a Proclamation for the Renewal of the Intercourse with Great Britain, and that whatever Differences of Opinion should arise in the Interpretation of the Terms of such an agreement, will be removed in the proposed negotiation.
I have the Honour to be, &c.
Now, therefore, I, James Madison, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim that the orders in council aforesaid will have been withdrawn on the said roth day of June next, after which day the trade of the United States with Great Britain, as suspended by the act of Congress above mentioned and an act laying an embargo on all ships and vessels in the ports and harbors of the United States and the several acts supplementary thereto, may be renewed. Given under my hand and the seal of the United States
at Washington, the 19th day of April, A.D. 1809, (SEAL] and of the Independence of the United States the
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
WASHINGTON, Ap! 24, 1809. Dear Sir,-I have recd your favor of the 19th.
. You will see in the newspapers the result of the advances made by G. B. Attempts were made to give shapes to the arrangement implying inconsistency and blame on our part. They were, however, met in a proper manner, and readily abandoned, leaving these charges in their full force, as they now bear on the other side. The B. Cabinet must have
The next day he wrote again:
WASHINGTON, April 19th 1809. SIR,
In consequence of the Acceptance by the President, as stated in your Letter, dated the 18th Instant, of the Proposals, made by me on the Part of His Majesty, in my Letter of the same Day, for the Renewal of the Intercourse between the respective Countries, I am authorized to declare, that His Majesty's orders in Council of January and November, 1807, will have been withdrawn as respects the United States on the roth Day of June next.
I have the honor, &c.-D. of S. MSS. Notes.
changed its course under a full conviction that an adjustment with this country had become essential; and it is not improbable that this policy may direct the ensuing negociation, mingling with it, at the same time, the hope that it may embroil us with France. To this use, it may be expected, the Federalists will endeavor to turn what is already done, at the coming session of Cong® The steps deemed proper to give the proceeding a contrary turn will not be omitted. And if France be not bereft of common sense, or be not predetermined on war with us, she will certainly not play into the hand of her enemy. Besides the general motive to follow the example of G. B. she cannot be insensible of the dangerous tendency of prolonging the commercial sufferings of her Allies, particularly Russia, all of them already weary of such a state of things, after the pretext for enforcing it shall have ceased. She must be equally aware of the importance of our relations to Spanish America, which must now become the great object of Napoleon's pride and ambition. Should he repeal his decrees with a view to this object, the most probable source of conflict will be in his extending the principle on which he required a prohibition of the Trade with St Domingo to the case of the Spanish Colonies. Nor is it improbable that he may couple such a requisition with an offer to cede the Floridas, which would present a dilemma not very pleasant.
Accept my sincerest affection & highest esteem.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
WASHINGTON, May 1, 1809.
DEAR SIR, -I am just favored with yours of the 27th. Young Gelston is here, preparing to take his passage for France as bearer and expositor of despatches, in the Syren, sloop of war, which is waiting for him at Baltimore. He leaves this to-morrow morning. Mr. Gallatin has had a conversation with Turreau at his residence, near Baltimore. He professes to be confident that his Gov! will consider England broken down by the example she has given in repealing her orders, and that the F. decrees will be repealed as a matter of course. His communications by the Syren will, if he be sincere, press the policy of an immediate repeal. No official accos have been received from the French letters of Marque arrived at Boston. The difficulty most likely to threaten our relations with France lies in the effort she may make to render us in some way subservient to the reduction of Spanh. America; particularly by withholding our commerce. This apprehension is corroborated by the language of Turreau. He alluded to his conversations with you relating to Cuba, on which he builds jealousies which he did not conceal. Cuba will, without doubt, be a cardinal object with Napoleon.
The spirit which England will bring into the ulterior negociations must differ much from that which influenced former Treaties, if it can be moulded to our just views; and we must be prepared to meet it
with a prudent adherence to our essential interests. It is possible, however, that the school of adversity may have taught her the policy of substituting for her arrogant pretensions somewhat of a conciliating moderation towards the U. S. Judging from the tone lately used, a change of that sort would be the less wonderful. If she can be brought to a fair estimate of her real interest, it seems very practicable to surmount the obstacles which have hitherto kept us at variance, and, until surmounted, must continue to do so.
The case of impressments, hitherto the great obstacle, seems to admit most easily of an adjustment, on grounds mutually advantageous.
Y! with affectionate respects. It is understood that the Election in the State of N. York has issued very favorably.
TO MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE.
WASHINGTON May 1, 1809.
MY DEAR SIR
It is a real mortification to me that another favorable opportunity has occurred without my being able to add a word to what you know on the state of your land affairs in the hands of M! Duplantier. I have not rec! a line from him, since He stated the difficulty which had presented itself in the completion of a part of his locations, and the advice of M! Gallatin relating to it was transmitted to him. I wish he
· From the original kindly loaned by John Boyd Thacher, Esq.