James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Elias Vanderhorst, 7 November 1801

From Elias Vanderhorst, 7 November 1801

Novr. 7th. 1801.


The Preceding is a Copy of my last of the 10th. Ultmo. per the Perseverance, Capt. Williamson, Via Philadelphia, since which I have been Honored with your Circular of the 1st. of Augst. with the Papers it enclosed.

The Practice which you mention to have been used by some of our Consuls, in granting Certificates, & in some instances supplying with ⟨Con⟩sular Registers, & Sea Letters, Foreign Vessels Purchased by Citizens of the U.S. of America, has never occurred at this Port nor at any other within my Jurisdiction. Indeed if any Sale of that kind had been made here, I should certainly have taken steps similar to those you have so properly laid down, in order to have Prevented any thing fraudulent in the transaction.

You will be pleased to observe that all the Accts. of Imports & Exports, by our Vessels, which have taken place within my Districts, ⟨ha⟩ve been regularly transmitted by me, ’though I am sorry to Say not without trouble and expence, owing to the Perverseness of some of our Captains in refusing their Manifests, in which case there is no other way of obtaing. an Acct. of their Cargoes but from the regular Custom House Presentments, which cannot, however, be had without expence, but on submitting to this, they are within the reach of every one in all the Ports of this Kingdom, so that the reason (if it may be so called) offered by our Captains for refusing us a Sight of their Manifests, is a frivolous excuse, merely calculated to avoid givg. themselves ⟨th⟩e little trouble that so small a matter would cause; but as on this subject, as well as on some others of a similar nature, connected with our situation, I have long since taken the Liberty of offering my sentiments, it becomes unnecessary for me to repeat them here. Still I cannot but flatter myself, that you will on further considering these matters, coincide with me in thinking, that some Laws are wanting, that would have for their object, the rendering the duties of our Office not only less painful, but that would also enable us the better to fulfill what may be expected from us.

Enclosed are a few of our latest News-Papers likewise a London Price Current, to which I beg leave to refer you, for what is passing here of a Public nature.

I have now only to add that I shall with pleasure continue ⟨to⟩ attend to all the Instructions you may be pleased to Honor me with, & shall be happy to execute them in the best manner that ⟨the⟩ circumstances may Permit, being with sentiments of the most Perfect Esteem & Respect, Sir, Your most Obedt. & most Hle. Servt.

Elias Vander Horst

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