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James Monroe's Letters to Edmund Randolf

About the Letter

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The November 20, 1794 letter begins as Monroe discusses a rather curious letter from Mr. Gardoqui, Spain’s Minister of Finance. As Monroe explains Mr. Gardoqui’s letter, it becomes apparent that Monroe suspects that the letter has a hidden agenda. Monroe's description implies that the letter from Mr. Gardoqui is an ill fated attempt to elicit his assistance in peace negotiations. However, Monroe expresses his concern that the letter may show that Spain is attempting to create a rift between the United States and France, and in effect, jeopardize the fragile relationship between the two countries. In response to these worries, Monroe explains how he took this letter to the French officials and expressed to them his concerns. The letter continues as Monroe illustrates the political atmosphere between the United States and Spain. Discussions are centered around an ongoing negotiation over the land rights of the Mississippi. In particular, Monroe argues that should Spain secure peace with France, it would diminish the US's leverage in the negotiations. He cites that Spain is not in any position to heavily contest any such issues over claims in North America as long as France continues to occupy a large part of the country. Then, the letter transitions from the political maneuvering going on between the three countries to the war raging on Holland’s frontier. The update includes the fact that France has easily defeated its enemies and the city of Nimegeun has since fallen. Motivating the rest of Holland to “dismiss” its government and ally itself with France. The letter then comes to a close with an inquiry about an update on Colonel Humphreys regarding the subject of Algiers.