September 12 1815: Joseph Bonaparte in America

…. Several days ago I recd. information thro’ a confidential channel, that Joseph Bonaparte (with several companions) had arrived incog. at N. Y. and had disclosed himself to Commodore Lewis, whose honor he inferred from his military symbols. And yesterday I recd the further information that he was on his way, accompanied by Lewis, to report himself to me personally, still under his disguise, which he considered essential to prevent invigorated efforts of B. Cruisers on our Coasts, to intercept his family and property which are following him. Whatever motives may have produced this step, the palpable impropriety of it, especially as its success would involve my participation in a clandestine transaction, determined me at once to guard agst. it. I have accordingly written to Mr. Rush, to have the travellors diverted from their purpose, on their arrival at Washington. The anxiety of J. B. to be incog for the present at least, makes it the more extraordy. that he should undertake a journey which could not fail to excite curiosity & multiply the chances of discovery. Lewis has doubtless been pushed into his inconsiderate agency, by a benevolent sympathy; but he ought at least to have obtained a previous sanction to it from some quarter or other….

— James Madison writes to James Monroe, September 12 1815.

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