James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Savage, 20 January 1802

From William Savage, 20 January 1802

Kingston Jamaica January 20th. 1802


I wrote you last month under date of 7th. 8th. & 9th. ⟨ultimo⟩, since which I am without any of your favors. There ⟨still⟩ remains a number of Americans on board the Men ⟨of⟩ War on this station who are detain’d for want of regular ⟨doc⟩uments. This is the plea made. You will observe by my ⟨acco⟩unt that accompanys this a great number has been discharg’d ⟨som⟩e of whom are in bad Health, many now in the Hospital, ⟨and⟩ many more in different parts of the Town in great ⟨dis⟩tress waiting to get off the Island as opportunitys present, ⟨who⟩ are unable to support themselves from the numerous bodys ⟨of⟩ Seamen discharg’d from the various Shipping now here; ⟨ev⟩ery attention will be paid to get them away with as little ⟨ex⟩pence as possible to the American Government.

I have this day drawn on you in favor of James ⟨M⟩artin Esquire at 30 days for 1588 Dollars 30 Cents which ⟨is⟩ the Amount of Supplys and my Commission, Independent ⟨of⟩ which I have made a charge of Five Hundred Pounds for ⟨my⟩ services here for the last Year. I do assure you the whole of my time is taken up in attending to the numerous applications made to me by American Seamen at all hours and it has been my invariable maxim to preserve the utmost oceonomy.

I was given to understand when Mr. Talbot my predecessor in office resided here, he was allowed twice the sum I have charged, and when the duty’s of the office was not attended with half the difficulties I have had to encounter. Under these circumstances I trust when I draw for this last Sum the bill will be honour’d. I am sorry to observe no attention has hitherto been paid to my solicitations on this Head. The expence of living here is extravagantly high. Did I not feel justify’d in makeing this charge I should not presume to do it. I flatter myself the Governm⟨ent⟩ of the United States do not expect the services of those ⟨under⟩ their appointment without makeing a suitable allowance for their Support. The last Accounts from Great Britain are of that nature which evidently discovers new difficulties arise in framing the Definitive Treaty. The French have not been allowed to send the Troops they had ready to go against Hispaniola. In the event hostilities shou⟨ld⟩ be renew’d, I beg leave to recommend that a more particu⟨lar⟩ attention be paid to Seaman’s certificates. I would recommend that the place of their Birth, Town, City & State be on all ⟨occ⟩asions certify’d. This very material point is too much ⟨ne⟩glected. I have the Honour to be with great Respect Your most ob Servt.

Wm. Savage

Agent for US of America

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