James Madison Papers

From James Madison to David Gelston, 23 March 1805

To David Gelston

Department of State March 23d: 1805.


Having received information that the British public armed Brig Busy is now in the port of New York, I take occasion to request you will be pleased to inform me as soon convenient, from such sources of information as you may have access to, what ground there is for a publication lately made in the public papers, that, except two, who were liberated from the Busy since her arrival on the coast, she had no impressed men on board, a considerable number who are stated to have been liberated, having been detained only in consequence of the Busy having sent their Ship into a British port for examination.1 I shall be obliged by your endeavoring also to ascertain whether Martin George, impressed from the Schooner Henrietta of Alexandria be yet on board. I am &c.

James Madison

Letterbook copy (DNA: RG 59, DL, vol. 14). 1 p.

1The Busy had seized the New York ship Manhattan and sent it into Bermuda for adjudication. The initial report stated that the Busy had twenty impressed Americans on board. Later reports added that fifteen of the men were members of the crew of the Manhattan, who were being held for return to that ship should it be ordered released by the vice admiralty court, and that they had been landed at New York together with two others who had been impressed from the brig Traveller. The remaining three were “detained as British seamen” (New York American Citizen, 7, 13, and 14 Mar. 1805).

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