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Monroe, James (1758-1831) to unknown

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01137 Author/Creator: Monroe, James (1758-1831) Place Written: Oak Hill, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 10 May 1823 Pagination: 3 p. ; 24.8 x 19.7 cm.

Summary of Content: Probably sent to John Quincy Adams as Secretary of State by President Monroe. Letter believed to be a precursor to the Monroe Doctrine. Said he had to withdraw the nomination of John B. Prevost, Aaron Burr's nephew, as Charge d'Affaires to Peru from the Senate. Monroe has heavily crossed out the words "Prevost" and "Peru" throughout the letter. Says he probably would have been rejected and that would have caused too much harm to Prevost's reputation. Wants Adams to write to Prevost and tell him everything that is being said about him. Recommends sending the letter by Caesar Augustus Rodney, who Monroe was sending to South America as one of the commissioners to investigate and report on the propriety of recognizing the independence of the Spanish-American Republics. Monroe withdrew the nomination because of a backlash against Prevost's strong southern sympathies. Says Prevost's sentiments do not look good to his fellow New Yorkers. Says Prevost is on bad terms with most naval commanders, which makes it hard for him to send information to Prevost. Condemns British Admiral Lord Thomas Alexander Cochrane's blockade of Brazil, because it effects American trade. Cochrane was working with Brazil's navy for its independence from Portugal. After a political run-in during the Napoleonic Wars forced Cochrane to leave Britain, he gravitated to South America where he offered his services to various independence movements. Postscript says it is imperative that Prevost show a defense for himself. The letter is split at the fold and is now two pages.

Full Transcript: Oak hill, Virga. May 10. 1823.

You have been, as I presume, apprised, that I nominated Mr. [struck: Prevost] to the Senate, at the last session, as charge' des affrs., to [struck: ...Peru], and that so strong were the impressions against him, made directly, by different persons, on the Committee, to whom the nomination was referrd, together with that of all the ministers to So. Am:, I was compelled to withdraw him; to avoid the mortification of his reputation. The chairman of the Committee, govr. Barbour, assurd me, that the committee would not report in his favour, but should it, that the Senate would not confirm it. Had he been rejected, it most probably would have done him essential, & permanent injury, as it would have been more difficult afterwards to have removed, the prejudices against him, & his pay would also have been stopped. By withdrawing him, time is allowed him to vindicate himself against the charges alleged against him; & in the mean time I continue him as political agent at [struck: illegible], the same character he held at [struck: illegible] & with the same compensation. I wish you to write him, & to state fully, all that is said against his conduct in So am:, with which I am persuaded you are well acquainted....
[2] The general idea is that he has become so much a partisan of our southern friends, that he does not do justice to his fellow citizens, in their claims on the new govts- Some other stories have been circulated to his prejudice... He is, I am told, on bad terms with all our naval commanders, a circumstance which makes it more delicate & difficult for me, to interfere, in detaild communication on the subject since in such differences, I ought to be neutral & impartial, certainly not the partisan of any one. any charges against any of them, I shall see, sifted to the bottom, that justice may be done to the parties, & the honour of the nation vindicated...
The blockade of Adml Cochrane, of the whole coast, with a trifling force, has been disclaimed by this govt., & cannot be sustained, by the Law of the nations. It is said that he gives countenance to it, to the injury of our own trade. Even when our people may be [struck: in the] wrong, he ought not to be suspected, of taking part against them with the new govts... as a general principle, the character of an agent, should be [determined], on the side of his country & countrymen. A pronounced character on that side, would command their confidence, & support here, & enable him to be more useful both there & here. with our naval commanders [3] he should communicate freely, & if possible act in concert. should he differ with them on any points, he ought to state to the govt. the precise grounds of the difference, his objections to their conduct, & circumstances in which he thinks them [censurable]. In that case the govt would be enabled to decide which of the parties was in the wrong to... correct the evil, and sustain the national character...
with sincere regard dear sir yours
James Monroe
...If he, Mr [struck: Prevost], is clearly, & in all things in the right, & our naval commanders & others, in the wrong, where they differ, let him show it...
See More

People: Monroe, James, 1758-1831
Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: PresidentMonroe DoctrineLatin and South AmericaDiplomacyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyPoliticsGovernment and CivicsBlockadeNavyCommerceMerchants and Trade

Sub Era: The First Age of Reform

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