James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert W. Fox, 10 April 1802

From Robert W. Fox, 10 April 1802

Falmouth 10 April 1802

Esteemed Friend

Since my last respects nothing particular new has occurred, except the arrival here of several Vessels with Flour & Wheat from the United States; some of their Cargoes have been sold à 45/ à 46/ per Barrel and the Vessels have gone forward with the Cargoes, on being paid an additional freight by the buyers; others I beleive will take their Cargoes forward to Barcelona for account of the concerned.

I apprehend Flour & Wheat is in demand at Barcelona, Leghorn, Genoa &ca.; at the former place it has been as high as 37/ per ⟨bl.⟩

English Seamen’s Wages are here about 40/ per month and freights falling fa⟨st⟩. Grain & Flour is also declining fast, the latter as low as 50/ à 55/ per Sack of 2 1/2 in many Marke⟨ts⟩ and Sales very dull: indeed Trade is much at a Stand in most parts of this Nation.

The Surprize Captn. Strong belonging to Philadelphia, loaded at New Orleans, with Cotton and bound for this Port, was left at Sea nearly full of Water; the Master and Mates with the Crew who were picked up by another Vessel, landed here yesterday, being destitute and no Vessels at this port bound to the United States, their expences will be considerable. I shal⟨l⟩ recommend their going to London per first Vessel that offers; the common board here for Seamen being 16/ à 18/ per Weak; on such occasions the allowance of 10 Cents per day will go but a little way in their Support. I shall on this occasion and all other occurrences of a like nature be as frugal in the expenditure as I possibly can.

West India produce is of very slow sale. Hemp has fallen considerably in Russia, but Tobacco supports its price. Several American Ships are about to go to that Country to load for the United States. Copper in Cakes are now ⟨a⟩bout £120 per Ton at the Works; the manufactor⟨ing co⟩sts about £12 à £14 per Ton. I am with mu⟨ch⟩ respect Thy assured Friend

Rob. W. Fox

Some of my Friends wish me to act at this Port as Agent for the Dutch, to be employed by their Government to assist the Masters of their Ships if shipwrecked on this Coast or in want of Supplies, provided I cou’d accept such an appointment consistently with being Consul of the United States of America; & as I shou’d on no account act in this Capacity if it was offered me if there was the least impropriety. I shall much esteem the favor of thy giving me thy Sentiments hereon; & I repeat I shou’d not on any account accept of such Appointment if thee art of opinion its improper.

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