James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Turell Tufts, 23 September 1801

From Turell Tufts, 23 September 1801

Paramaribo Sep 23, 1801.


I have to state another instance of imperfect navigation. The Sloop Sally of Wilmington, 56 14/95 Tons, Owned by Thurston & Pelham, Nn. Heblden master, lately arrived here, last from Norfolk, with only her Certificate of Registry and Clearance. Sea Letter Shipping–Paper, & Roll d’Equipage were wanting.

The Captain said he asked Mr. Davies, the Collector of Norfolk, for those Papers, Particularly the Sea Letter, and was answered, “they were unnecessary.”

In my view, the Sea Letter is a most important Paper, because it is for that, all Commanders ⟨o⟩f armed Vessells, who do not understand our language, always call for; and it is upon that Paper, they chiefly depend for the character of the Vessell.

I conceive that our Officers of Customs ought to be more careful than ever, that every Vessell be Properly navigated; for should one Privateer be successful, our whole Commerce would thereupon be exposed to general inspection & seizure. Moreover, such neglect, or omission of any one Paper which the laws makes necessary, enables foreigners to use any Bottom under our Flag with much less risque.

In my last I stated the Proclamation of the Governor, restricting our Trade to the admission of Fish, Flour, & Lumber only. I understand it was to have continued 3 Months only; but the market is so glutted—even with these articles, it is expecte⟨d⟩ the restriction will be extended untill the abundance is considerably decreased. I am with great respect Your humble Servant

T. Tufts

Consul &c

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