James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Appleton, 8 July 1803 (Abstract)

§ From Thomas Appleton

8 July 1803, Leghorn. Encloses his “account of disbursements to distressed American seamen during the preceeding year amounting to” $894.52. “A vast number of Sailors” have resorted to this port “to find vessels returning to the U: States—more than one half the sum I have advanced was to men from Trieste, Naples, the island of Sicily and Genoa.” Has been careful “to discriminate between the unfeigned distressed seaman, entitled to charity, and the vagabond profligate who was undeserving the bounty of government.” Has heard that new laws respecting American seamen have been enacted but has not received any correspondence from the State Department, except a printed circular, or any of the laws of the U.S. for three years. Has drawn on the State Department in favor of Philadelphia merchant Samuel Emery for the sum of the above account. Encloses also a list of ships that entered Leghorn from 1 Jan. to 30 June 1803. Informs JM “of the embarrassments our Vessels now labour under” since Leghorn was declared by the French to be in a state of siege. Encloses a copy of his letter to Livingston, describing the circumstances attending the “arrestation of three American vessels of late.”1 “My only weapon is remonstrance, and the existing treaty between the U: States, and the Republick of france: to which their commissaries oppose volumes of new maritime Regulations, where there does not appear a line to except from their rigour, vessels of nations with whom they may be united by treaties of Amity or of Commerce.” Cites one of the new regulations: “‘toutes les lettres trouvées sur des batimens neutres, seront ouvertes et lues en presence de l’armateur, ou de son representant; et Celles qui seront de nature à donner des éclaircissemens sur la Validité de la prise seront jointes à la procedure; les autres lettres seront addressées au Ministre de la Marine et des Colonies’2—How applicable this may be, you will easily judge.” Presumes Livingston “will obtain an exception in favor of our Commerce, or procure the Acknowledgement of a general principle” by which Appleton may “secure our flag from any future insults, and the proprietors of Vessels from a repetition of such injuries.”

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