James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Sylvanus Bourne, 20 December 1801

From Sylvanus Bourne, 20 December 1801

Amsm. Decr. 20h. 1801


The foregoing is a duplicate of what I had the honor to address you on the 15 Inst. I would now beg leave to mention the nature of certain difficulties which attend the position of this port in respect to the signature of Drawback Certific⟨ates⟩ by the Mates of Vessells, seeing that not mo⟨re⟩ than one third of our vessells come further ⟨than⟩ The Helder 50 Miles distant from this ⟨port⟩ & as the Captains are generally up in the City it is inconvenient for the Mates at the same time to leave the Vessells. This has obliged ⟨me⟩ to appoint a person at The Helder as Agent ⟨to⟩ take the signatures of the mates & as the Hel⟨der⟩ is a small out port very disagreeable to live & in fact inhabited only by those who get their ⟨living⟩ by impositions on the persons trading there, ⟨it⟩ is very difficult to find any one, who will ⟨not⟩ take advantage of such an agency for his own benefit & to the injury of others. Complaints ha⟨ve⟩ been made me on this head & I woud there for⟨e⟩ for the interest of our Citizens That some arrange⟨ment⟩ might be made by Law to supercede the ne⟨cessity⟩ of having an agent there such as dispensing in like cases with the mates signatures to the Certificates when they cannot be taken before the Consul himself ⟨& declaring⟩ that the signature & affidavit of the Captain alone ⟨on⟩ the Merchants’ Certificate shall suffice in such circumstances. I respectfully submit these remarks to your consideration & am respectfully Yr Ob. Sert.

S. Bourne

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