James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Hans Rudolph Saabye, 16 January 1802

From Hans Rudolph Saabye, 16 January 1802

Copenhagen the 16th. January 1802


On the 15th. of August I had last the honour of addressing you. The supposition I mentioned therein, that Denmark would accede to the treaty, concluded between the Courts of Russia and England, has since been realized, and in consequence thereof, the Government had sent Commissaries to take Possession again of the Westindia Islands. The first of them, is the former Governor General, General Waltersdorff, and the frigate Iris, carrying them over, touched at Portsmouth, to take onboard the English Commissary Mr. Swinburne, who is authorised by his Government to regulate every thing.

I have had the honour of receiving your circular letter of 1 August, and observe in which case, and on what conditions it is permitted, to grant Certificates to Ships, bought in my District, by Subjects of the United States.

I have hitherto, not thought myself authorized to grant any Register or Sea letter to such Ships, and in future I shall take due care, when the case should exist, that such a Certificate might be required, to use every precaution, prescribed in the above mentioned Circulary letter.

The Ships of the U.S. ha⟨ve⟩ not been subject to any Quarantine here. Faith ha⟨s⟩ been given to the Bills of Health brought by them and the Crew has been permitted to come a Shore after having been examined on board, by a m⟨e⟩dical member of the Board of Quarantine.

The further Measures adopted in the U.S. w⟨ill⟩ tend to strengthen this confidence, to which I have contributed every thing in my power, ⟨by⟩ communicating to the Quarantine Commissi⟨on⟩ the Sketch of the Bill of Health, and by conferring with them, upon the measures to b⟨e⟩ taken, best consistent with precaution, an⟨d⟩ least obnoxious to trade. The consequen⟨ce⟩ hereof has been a circulary letter, sent by the roy⟨al⟩ chancery to all Magistrates in the danish ⟨Do⟩minions, and whereof I have the honour to inclose a translation.

You will certain⟨ly⟩ be kind enough, to make Known, what is ne⟨ces⟩sary respecting the Special Certificates, deem⟨ed⟩ necessary to be procured for Cotton, and other Com⟨modi⟩ties of same nature, that the want of same, m⟨ay⟩ not occasion any delay to the Ships carrying thes⟨e⟩ Articles.

Untill it is made incumbent upon the American Captain’s, to give an exact Declaration of their Cargoes and destination (: wherof I see no possible real, but only an imaginary disadvantage to them:) it is impossible to make the semi-annual returns of the American Trade to the Baltic, perfectly correct.

I dare flatter myself, that those I have sent, have been so exact as possible, and I shall further take all pains, to give them the highest degree of perfection possible. I have the honour to inclose that for the last half Year.

Hitherto I have charged no Expence to the U.S. and in future I neither shall think myself authorised to do so; meanwhile I beg to be assured, that the Mariners of the U.S., who deserve and realy are in want of help, never shall want the assistance, they have reason to expect.

As to these kind of expences, which have not been altogether inconsiderable, I shall make no claim, nor did I so, or ever receiv’d any of the Emoluments, belonging to the Consulate, having aimed at no other recompence than that of deserving the confidence I have been honoured with. It has not seldom happened that the Captains have end⟨ea⟩voured to rid themselves of Sailors here, engaged at m⟨ore⟩ disadvantageous terms, than at which they cou⟨ld⟩ be had here. Having felt the unjustness, an⟨d⟩ disadvantageous also of this measure in the U.S., I alw⟨ays⟩ have been fortunate enough to prevent it, where both par⟨ties⟩ have not agreed. Mean while I think it very imp⟨or⟩tant, that there might be given a law, for the Govern⟨ment⟩ of both parties, and it also might be very necessary ⟨to⟩ order the Captains to produce their Ship Papers to th⟨e⟩ Consuls. Without this it almost will be impossi⟨ble⟩ to prevent the use of forged Papers, and I know tha⟨t⟩ such exist. No Captain has refused to show his ⟨Pa⟩pers here, and all those I have seen, I have recog⟨ni⟩zed to be unfalsified. I have the hono⟨ur⟩ to be with the greatest respect Sir Your mo. obed & mo. hble. Serv⟨t.⟩

H. R. Saabye

Index Entries