James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George W. Erving, 6 June 1803

From George W. Erving

No 19

American Consulate London June 6h 1803.


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of April 19h.1 and in conformity to the direction therein given shall pay into the hands of Baring & Co the ballance of monies deducted or to be deducted on account of the advances of the United States in Prize Causes, from what may be received in the awards of the commissioners: After the 15 July I shall be able to ascertain the amount of this ballance, of which I will give notice to the Secretary of the Treasury. I have also received your circular instructions of April 9th,2 an extract from a supplementary act respecting the duties of Consuls ⟨&⟩ Vice Consuls: May I beg leave to request that you woud give me your further instructions as to who is or is not to be considered as usually resident in a foreign Country & entitled to the benefit of ships registers, under the second section of the Law concerning the registring of Vessels, & which I presume is to apply to the transfer of our vessels in foreign ports; this is a point on which it appears that the Law is not sufficiently Explicit & on which the new consular act gives no Explanation. The impressment of our sailors has recommenced in this country, & is carried on in the same manner & to the same extent as during the late war; I have occasion to make daily applications to the admiralty for their release, & as heretofore such as have regular custom house protections the descriptions contained in them agreeing with the persons, & they not having married in this Country, or voluntarily entered, are generally in this port discharged upon such applications; there have been however many Exceptions to these rules even here, & in the outports the British Officers have some of them resorted to great irregularities for the purpose of detaining our men: I have thought it my duty therefore to address a letter upon this subject to the Lords of the admiralty, hoping that some regulations more liberal than those now subsisting might be obtained, founded upon the Exact mode of certifying the crews of our ships under the new Laws: A copy of that letter I have Herewith the honor to inclose.3

Mr James Holmes4 of Belfast has applied to me for the settlement of his account of disbursements; this gentleman is not in the list of Consuls delivered to me by Major Lenox, there may possibly be others whose appointment I am not informed of; I beg leave therefore to request that you will instruct me as to the Consuls & Vice Consuls whose accounts I am authorized to settle. I have the honor to be with the most perfect respect Sir Your very obt st

George W. Erving

By this conveyance I send two packages & a single letter from Mr Livingston & one package from Govr. Monroe.


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