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James Monroe's Letters to Edmund Randolf

About the Letter

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This letter dated August 15th, 1794 marks one of Monroe’s first letters to the Secretary of State upon his arrival in France. The letter opens with a description of his arrival at the port city of Havre where he is greeted by a particular Mr. Morris and briefed on the current state of affairs. Dismayed, Monroe expresses his disappointment as he learns that his formal reception has been delayed indefinitely because of Robespierre's execution. Monroe's next point provides a fully detailed summary and analysis into Robespierre’s bloody rise to power and his inglorious demise. The letter continues with Monroe's amazement over the unsuspecting nationalistic fervor among the citizens of Paris. For example, Monroe specifically cites high taxes and military conscription is tolerated by the French people. Furthermore, Monroe includes an update on the state of the war illustrating a key battle between the enemy commander Coburg and the French general Jourdan. Additionally, Monroe also highlights many of the cities that have since been captured by the French army. Most notably are the cities of Antwerp, Ghent, and Brussels. In closing, Monroe details a major naval engagement between the English and French navies which last for three days, resulting in the French navy suffering the loss of seven ships to the English.