James Madison Papers

From James Madison to James Monroe, 7 September 1805

To James Monroe

Department of State 7th. September 1805


Mr. Erving having been applied to by the Prussian Minister in London to procure information respecting the estate of a Major Ludeman, who died in Virginia in the year 1786, I inclose a copy of a letter from Mr. Hay, the District Attorney, in which its situation is fully explained.1

It has been found that the Records delivered as those of West Florida, whilst a British Province, are but a partial mass;2 and as it is of importance to possess the whole if attainable, I request you to have the remainder sought for. Any moderate expence incurred in the search will be justified by the nature of the object.

The inclosed order of His Britannic Majesty to his vessels of War, tho’ dated so far back as the 23d. June 1803 has made its public appearance only this summer by the way of Tortola.3 In the mean time there is reason to believe that its penal effect has been extended to our navigation. Be pleased to inform me whether it is genuine, and how it has happened, that like every just modification of existing rules, by which others are to be guided, it has not been notified or published. Should it be found to have originated in the regular source, its concealment will not form the only topic of complaint against it, as the principle on which it is founded is far from being conceded.

Some time since I received for the use of this Department the first volume of the Reports of Judge Marriott.4 If any additions have been made to the publication I should be glad to possess them, as well as a continuation of the statutes at large from the 3 G. 3 C.72 in a quarto form.

It appears that Frederick Balcke the subject of a former enquiry from Baron Jacobi,5 is living at the town of Clermont in the Manor of Livingston in the state of New York, where he has continued to reside ever since he came to this Country. I have the honor to be &c

James Madison

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

1For Baron Jacobi-Kloest’s request, see George W. Erving to JM, 1 June 1805, PJM-SS 9:423–24 and n. 1. For the enclosure, see George Hay to JM, 2 Sept. 1805.

2For the British land grant papers sent to the State Department in 1804, see George W. Erving to JM, 6 Feb. 1804, ibid., 6:442–43 and nn.

3The 24 June 1803 order in council to the commanders of Royal Navy warships and to privateers ordered them “not to seize any neutral vessel which shall be carrying on trade directly between the colonies of enemies, and the neutral country, to which the vessel belongs, and laden with the property of inhabitants of such neutral country: provided, that such neutral vessels shall not be supplying, nor shall have, on the outward voyage, supplied the enemy with any articles contraband of war, and shall not be trading with any blockaded port” (ASP, Foreign Relations, 3:265). For the article to which JM probably referred, see the Philadelphia United States’ Gazette, 8 June 1805.

4JM referred to Decisions in the High Court of Admiralty: During the Time of Sir George Hay, and of Sir James Marriott, Late Judges of That Court, vol. 1, 1776–1779 (London, 1801).

5For Baron Jacobi-Kloest’s request for information on Frederic Baléke, see Monroe to JM, 17 Apr. 1804, PJM-SS 7:73, 74 n. 1.

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