James Madison Papers

To James Madison from DeWitt Clinton, 1 May 1805

From DeWitt Clinton


Newyork 1 May 1805

Dr Sir

I thank you for your friendly communication of the 10th. April.1 The views it affords of the important subjects of which it treats are highly satisfactory and will be useful to me. I had not time to review the correspondence between Messrs. Fairlie & Barclay when it was transmitted to you—but upon the receipt of your letter I immediately recurred to it and to a recent letter of Mr Barclay’s to me, wherein he speaks of the impropriety of enlisting British Seamen in our Navy. His request on that occasion was that certain articled boys who had deserted from British Merchantmen and had enlisted on board the John Adams should be given up. Upon this ground only I advised Capt. Chauncey to deliver them up. I am aware that he is apt to urge extravagan<t> pretensions and I shall carefully guard against any improvident admissions. The truth is, he is a weak man and is I believe very rancorous against our Govt. He was attainted by An Act of our Legislature.2 With every sentiment of respect & attachment I am Your Most Obedt Servt.

DeWitt Clinton

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1JM’s letter has not been found, but for the probable subject matter, see JM to Anthony Merry, 9 Apr. 1805.

2British consul Thomas Barclay, a New York native who studied law with John Jay, was a Loyalist during the Revolution. In 1776 his property was confiscated and ordered sold by the state of New York; he was named in a 22 Oct. 1779 state act of attainder (PJM-SS, description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (9 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends 3:613 n. 3; Halpenny, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 6:33–36; Alexander Clarence Flick, Loyalism in New York during the American Revolution [New York, 1901], 138, 145–46 and n. 1, 147 n. 5).

Index Entries