James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Stephen Kingston, 9 November 1804

From Stephen Kingston

Philada. 9 Novr. 1804


In renewing the subject of my sufferings by the Spaniards I beg leave to refer to the letters I had the honor of addressing you the 5 Septr. 1802, 12 feby. & 5 June 1803,1 allow me now to hand copies of Capt. Ansleys protests in England and in this city,2 by which it clearly appears the Ship three sisters was regularly admitted to enter the river plate as per Charter on the terms of the government, “that the value of all negroes imported into the colony should be permitted exportation in neutral bottoms,” which the circumstances of the period when the Ship was chartered, rendered particularly expedient; the occurence of peace, the alledged reason for preventing the fulfillment of the royal ordinance, must be contemplated as a general blessing to all who partook thereof & could not be offered with decorum as ground for the breach of their governmental faith, the admission of the Ship being a new recognition of the right to go there.

This transaction having contributed eminently to my ruin, I have only to hope the proofs now submitted will meet a continuance of that attention from government so kindly assured to me by the Departmt of State on the 25 Feby. 1803,3 confiding in which for ultimate redress I have the honor to subscribe very respectfully and sincerely Sir Your Obedient and humble servant

Stephen Kingston

Tr (DNA: RG 76, Preliminary Inventory 177, entry 322, Spain, Treaty of 1819, Misc. Records, ca. 1801–24, box 1); enclosures (ibid., box 5). Kingston made this copy for inclusion in his letter to John Quincy Adams, 24 June 1822. For enclosures, see n. 2.

1For extracts from or copies of these letters, which are also included in Kingston’s 24 June 1822 letter to Adams, see PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 3:548, 4:319, 5:61. The Three Sisters had arrived at Montevideo on 25 Feb. 1802 and departed with a cargo on 23 Nov. 1802. The claim was valued at $50,127 (Charles Lyon Chandler, “United States Merchant Ships in the Rio de La Plata …,” Hispanic American Historical Review 2 [1919]: 26 n. 1; ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1832–61). description ends , Foreign Relations, 5:47).

2Kingston enclosed copies of Capt. John Ansley’s 30 Mar. 1803 protest before London notary Robert Robson (4 pp.); a 20 Dec. 1803 certification by Philadelphia notary Benjamin Nones (1 p.); docketed by Wagner as enclosed in Kingston’s 9 Nov. 1804 letter); Ansley’s 21 Mar. 1804 statement before Philadelphia notary Clement Biddle (3 pp.); and Kingston’s 9 Nov. 1804 deposition before Nones (2 pp.). Ansley stated that Spanish merchant Manuel de Sarrotea had chartered the Three Sisters at Philadelphia in November 1801 to carry a cargo of hides from Montevideo to Philadelphia or Hamburg, that the local government had refused to allow the ship to be loaded until several months after its arrival there, that Sarrotea’s local agents, after refusing to pay the agreed-upon demurrage, loaded the ship with a cargo for London at a lower rate than originally agreed. Kingston stated that after accounts were settled in England he was owed $22,261 for repair and refitting of the ship over and above any sums due him for demurrage and freight.

3On 25 Feb. 1803 State Department clerk Daniel Brent wrote Kingston acknowledging receipt of his 12 Feb. letter, telling him that Charles Pinckney had been instructed to pursue the Buenos Aires claims at Madrid, and advising him to send his papers to Pinckney so his case could be included among the claims (DNA: RG 59, DL, vol. 14). For the Buenos Aires cases, see Charles Pinckney to JM, 20 Nov. 1803 and 24 Jan. 1804, PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 6:77, 78 and n. 1, and 385 n. 19.

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