Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JOHN ARMSTRONG AND JAMES BOWDOIN. d. of s. mss. instr. - The Writings, vol. 7 (1803-1807)
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TO JOHN ARMSTRONG AND JAMES BOWDOIN. d. of s. mss. instr. - James Madison, The Writings, vol. 7 (1803-1807) 
The Writings of James Madison, comprising his Public Papers and his Private Correspondence, including his numerous letters and documents now for the first time printed, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900). Vol. 7.
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TO JOHN ARMSTRONG AND JAMES BOWDOIN.d. of s. mss. instr.
Department of State, July 15th, 1807.
The inclosed copy of a proclamation by the President will inform you of a late extraordinary hostility and insult committed by a British ship of War on a frigate of the United States near the Capes of Virginia, and of the measures taken by the President in consequence of the outrage. The subsequent proceedings of the British Squadron in our waters, have borne a like stamp of hostility; and altho’ it may be found that these provocations have not issued from or may be disavowed and expiated by the British Government it may also be found that the United States must take on themselves the reparation that is due to them. For this event it is necessary to be prepared; as well with a view to our finances, as to other resources and arrangements.
In this state of things, the President, taking into consideration the objections to an application of the public funds to objects not immediately connected with the public safety, instructs you to suspend the negotiation for the purchase of the Floridas, unless it shall be agreed by Spain that payment for them, shall in case of a rupture between Great Britain and the U. States, be postponed till the end of one year after they shall have settled their differences; and that in the mean time no interest shall be paid on the debt. You will of course understand it to be inconsistent with this instruction either to draw on the Treasury, or to obtain a credit in Europe, for any part of the sum allotted for the purchase of the Floridas.
Should a bargain have been made for the Floridas and payments stipulated, as contemplated by former instructions, you will press in the most serious and emphatic manner, a remodification of the terms which will adjust them to the instruction here given. Such a compliance may justly be expected in return for the advantages which Spain and her allies will derive, in various respects from a contest between this country and their enemy. It may further be expected that, in consideration of these advantages to them, and of the general effect of a War, or even a cessation of commerce with Great Britain on the pecuniary faculties of the United States, the price demanded for the Floridas, will be at least greatly reduced. To this consideration, it may be added, that whilst the pecuniary faculties of the United States will be so materially benumbed in the event of a rupture with Great Britain, those of Spain may be essentially aided, by the facility which that event will give to the command of her South American Treasure through the United States. Finally it is not unworthy of consideration, that the introduction of hostile relations between the United States and Great Britain, may remove objections hitherto felt by the latter, to enterprizes against the Floridas, and lead to a military occupancy of them with views very adverse to the policy of Spain.
Should Spain still obstinately persist in rejecting or retarding an arrangement concerning the Floridas, she must at least see the necessity of hastening a satisfactory one on other subjects, particularly in the case of the Mobille for the free use of which by the United States, orders ought to be sent without a moments delay.
The President leaves to your own discretion the use to be made of observations of this kind, and entertains an entire confidence, that your management of the whole business will be such as will best comport with the circumstances of the crisis, and conduce most to the object entrusted to you.
This dispatch goes by the Revenge, a public armed vessel charged with instructions to our Ministers in London, to require from the British Government the satisfaction due for the insult to the U. States. She will touch at a French port from which one of her officers will proceed to Paris. She will also return from England to France, and convey to you from Mr. Monroe and Mr. Pinkney, the communications rendered proper by the conduct and countenance of the British Government in relation to the United States. The influence which those communications ought to have on your proceedings, will depend on the tenor of them, and must be left to your own discernment and sound judgment.
I have the pleasure to assure you that the spirit excited throughout our nation, by the gross attack on its sovereignty, is that of the most ardent and determined patriotism. You will find sufficient specimens of it in the papers herewith inclosed.
I have the honor to be &c.