James Madison Papers

From James Madison to John Armstrong, 2 March 1805

To John Armstrong

Department of State March 2d. 1805


The Officers of the French Government in St Domingo having made that Government a debtor to Mr Tucker of Massachusetts by a restraint which left him no alternative, Mr Pichon undertook to liquidate the compensation due, for which he delivered Mr Tucker a draft on Paris.1 On the presentation of this draft payment has been refused on account of an alledged defect of authority in Mr Pichon. It has therefore been required that the account should be settled anew at Paris, in which process, if any difficulty should arise to remove which Mr Skipwith is incompetent, I request you will be pleased on the application of Mr Tucker’s Agent to render him such assistance as may be proper. I have the honor to be &c.

James Madison

Letterbook copy (DNA: RG 59, IM, vol. 6).

1Daniel Tucker and Thomas Hovey were owners of the schooner Fair Lady, Capt. Snow, that was carrying lumber and provisions from Portland to Jamaica when it was captured by the French and carried into Saint-Domingue, where Gen. Louis Marie de Noailles appropriated the cargo on 28 Sept. 1803 and promised Snow payment. After being detained for almost two weeks without compensation, Snow was ordered to carry two hundred disabled French soldiers to Charleston. On 12 Mar. 1804 Pichon gave him a bill of exchange that the French government refused to pay. The claimed amount of the loss was $12,930.17 plus interest (ASP, Foreign Relations, 6:543).

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