James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert W. Fox, 12 July 1803

From Robert W. Fox, 12 July 1803

Falmouth 12th: July 1803.

Esteemed Friend

Agreable to the directions contained in thy circular of the 9th. April, I have obtained from the Collector of Lights, the enclosed list, payable by Americans on their Tonnage per Register, & all other foreign Shipping. There is also a list of what is paid by English Shipping for the same Voyages.

At Falmouth the pierage of English Vessels is 1/ per Mast per Month,
  & of Americans & other foreign Shipping 1/ do: do:
Castle dues & Anchorage of Americans &c: 4s/6d per Ship
  do: do: of English 2/6 do:
At Darthmouth English 1/ per Ship, Americans &c: 6s/ do.
  Pierage do: 1/6 do:, do. 3s/ do:
  Groundage do: 1/ do:, do: 2/ do:

& at some other ports of my district the charge of pier dues, Anchorage &c: is trifling. I have wrote to Plymouth, but my Consular Agent there has injured his Eye & cannot conveniently write, but I understand the expences were trifling. Pilotage in all these places varies very much, depending on the Weather & the Masters make the best bargain they can. The charge of Quarantine is 3s/ per Ton, according to the Ships measurement. This falls extremely heavy in many instances. For example, if a Ship from Philadelphia touches here for orders (at the time Vessels from Philadelphia are ordered to be put under Quarantine by this Government) & we have not the orders ready for her, she is ordered into Quarantine & if there but 24 hours, the duty will be demanded, altho Sh⟨e⟩ may not discharge in Great Britain. There certainly ought to be some regulation in such cases & Vessels not discharging in Great Britain, or airing their Cargoes whilst in Quarantin⟨e,⟩ ought not to be subject to any duty. Indeed there is not either in this, or any other port in my district a Lazzaretto to air Cargoes, if ever so much wanted.

A great number of French & Dutch Ships have been Captured by the British Cruisers, & this Country is arming very fast, it being expected by most, that the French will make one or more attempts to invade this Country, tho’ its generaly believed if they do, the french troops must ultimately be unsuccessful

Our Harvest promises well. American Barrel flour is now sold at 30s/ @ 34s/ per Bbl, & upwards of 1s/ per duty since the last of June Wheat 54s/ @ 62s/ per Dr. Tobacco & Rice sell well, but West India produce & Cotton Wool are not so much in demand, in consequence of the demand for export being so much chequed by the Blockade of the Elbe by a British Squadron.

Seamen of the U S are pretty well protected in general, none of the Officers in the Impress Service being desirous to meddle with Men who are clearly Citizens of the U S of A. I lately got some liberated on my certifying that I believed them to be Citizens of the U S.

I have not lately known of any Vessels sailing under the American Flag that I suspected was not the property of Citizens of the U S of A. I am with great respect Thy assured Friend

Rob. W. Fox

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