Lot 158: MADISON, JAMES. Autograph Letter Signed, as Secretary of State, to Daniel Carroll Brent ("Dear Sir"),
November 1, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: MADISON REQUESTS COPY OF MONROE-PINCKNEY NEGOTIATIONS FOR CONGRESS MADISON, JAMES. Autograph Letter Signed, as Secretary of State, to Daniel Carroll Brent ("Dear Sir"), requesting that he inform [Jacob] Wagner that there has been no communication from Spanish diplomats, conveying President Jefferson's request that a copy of all correspondence among ministers at London be made available to Congress, and requesting the forwarding of all mail from the [Monroe-Pinckney] mission. 2 pages, 4to, written on the recto and verso of a single sheet; faint scattered uneven toning, minor scattered bleedthrough, short closed tear at upper edge, folds. Np, 29 August 1807
"I have recd. yours of the 26. You may inform Mr. Wagner that . . . no information has been recd. for a long time from our Spanish affairs . . . that would guide him in appreciating the proposal made to him, better than his own good judgment . . . .
"The President has hinted the expediency of setting about duplicate copies of all the instructions & correspondence of our Ministers at London, as in different events it may be necessary to lay them before Congress even at its opening and from the voluminous nature of these documents, the preparation cannot be too soon commenced. The proper pens may therefore set about the task, immediately.
"Finding that I have here a copy of Mr. Monroe's cipher, I wish you to arrange with the post-office, the forwarding without the loss of a mail, whatever dispatches may appear to be from within the joint or ordinary mission to G. Britain."
President Jefferson chose not to submit to congress for ratification the treaty negotiated with Great Britain by James Monroe and Thomas Pinckney in 1806, primarily because of its inadequate provisions concerning British impressment of men aboard American vessels. On June 22, 1807, off the VA coast, the frigate USS Chesapeake was fired upon by the warship HMS Leopard. The commander of the Chesapeake surrendered, but his ship was nevertheless boarded and four members of the crew were seized. Although the prisoners had deserted the Royal Navy, the American outrage that the incident provoked not only sabotaged the Monroe-Pinckney Treaty, it also contributed to the grievances that gave rise to the War of 1812.