James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Nathaniel Lawrence and John Patrick, 6 November 1805

To Nathaniel Lawrence and John Patrick

Department of State Novr. 6th. 1805.


I have received your letter of the 1st. inst.1 respecting the capture of the Ship Eugenia, off the Harbour of New york by the Cambrian British Frigate.2 That you may be correctly acquainted with what passed on the complaint made by the British Minister of the rescue of the former Vessel in the last year, from the British captor, who had her in possession, I enclose a copy of my answer dated 5th. Septr. 1804.3 In relation to the present seizure, it will be incumbent on you to prosecute a legal claim in the Court at Halifax in which she may be proceeded against; and should the decision be unfavorable, it may be proper for you after appealing to communicate to this Department the documents in which it is contained, and such as may explain it. Respecting the rigorous & injurious usage of the Master of the Eugenia, after the capture, it may not be amiss for you to send me the details authenticated in due form, as soon as you obtain them. I am &c.

James Madison.

Letterbook copy (DNA: RG 59, DL, vol. 15).

1Letter not found.

2The Eugenia, Capt. John Mansfield, bound from Bordeaux to New York, was taken by the Cambrian near Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and sent to Halifax for adjudication. The ship was held for further proof on the questions of the need for certificates of origin for the cargo, the certificates under which the cargo was admitted to France, whether foreign or reduced duties were paid, what the French laws on the subject were, and what the limitations on return cargoes were (New York Morning Chronicle, 10 Aug. 1804; Philadelphia United States’ Gazette, 10 Sept. 1805; New-York Commercial Advertiser, 25 Nov. 1805).

3For JM’s 5 Sept. 1804 letter to Anthony Merry, see PJM-SS, 8:19–20. For the capture of the Eugenia by the British on 4 Aug. 1804, and its recapture in Long Island Sound on 7 Aug., see Jacob Wagner to JM, 16 Aug. 1804, and Merry to JM, 24 Aug. 1804, PJM-SS, 7:613, 631–34 and n. 1. For Albert Gallatin’s 26 Sept. 1804 letter to JM about the Eugenia, see ibid., 8:94 and n. 1. For more details on the 1804 capture, see George Lockhart Rives, ed., Selections from the Correspondence of Thomas Barclay, Formerly British Consul-General at New York (New York, 1894), 183–87.

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