James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Stephen Cathalan, 13 July 1803

From Stephen Cathalan, 13 July 1803

Marseilles the 13th. July 1803.


I have the honor of Confirming you my Letters of the 27th. May & 9th. June last.

On the 1st. inst: I have duly received your Circular Letter to the Consuls &ca. of the U. States with a Copy of the Laws of the Session of Congress, Preceeding the Last, also a Copy of the Act Supplementary to the Act Concerning Consuls &ca. and for the further protection of American Seamen to which I have paid due attention in order to act in pursuance of that law issued in the last session of Congress and relative to american Seamen. I hope when put into Execution in all foreign ports, Very soon they will be all returned to the U States and we will not See in future Such a number who after having been discharged into foreign ports by their Captains, are wandering from ports to ports, as the Captains will not, now, discharge them unless they Should Comply to the Execution of that law.

[. . .] to the 1st. July—

I have already Shipped in Execution of that law Four American Seamen on board the Brig Ann of newyork Peter Parker, Master bound to newyork, 212 Tons burthen; I had about Seven other men arrived from the French West Indies or Barcelona to Ship on two other American Vessels in this Port, but an american Captain taking here the Command of a Vessell purchased by an american Citizen And he wanting men for that Vessell he will take them on board, paying them wages which will Save so many ten dollars pr man to the Government; I have, however, paid them 12 Cents per day till they are Shipped being destitute; I have also put into Execution that law for a man discharged with mutual Consent by Captn. Isaac Atkins of the Brig Mentor of Salem who has deposited in my hands in his presence three months wages on advance and besides his wages due to him whic⟨h⟩ money I will employ in Conformity of the 3d. Sect⟨ion⟩ of that Law.

I Therein Inclose you A State of the americ⟨an⟩ Vessels Entered to & of those Cleared from the Ports of this district from the first January to th⟨e⟩ 30th. June ulto., also a letter I have received for you, Sir.

You will also find here inclosed a Copy of the tonnage duties, which are layd on foreign merchant Vessells, in this Harbor, which is the same that ⟨is⟩ paid in all the ports of france to the Customhouse office. There is nothing to be paid here for light money; nor in any other ports of my district. The american Vessels do not pay more or less than the other foreign Vessells. The French Vessells pay a Very triffling duty of tonnage and half tonnage, this latter duty has been lately laid, to apply its amou⟨nt⟩ to the repairs of harbors, Lighthouses, River’s &ca. However about three mon⟨ths⟩ ago they have laid a duty of 30 Cents per bottle of Brandy Exported from the port of Cette, for peculiar repairs to that port. As to the quarantine Charg⟨es⟩ on Ships they are the same on the foreign ones as on the french Vessels, no longer for the ones than for the other⟨s⟩ all depending from whence they arrive and on the nature ⟨of⟩ the goods Composing their Cargoes. We have different sorts of quarantines. I Send you a Copy of a bill for a quarantine of observation, performed by the Vessell and Crew at the entrance of this harbor which quarantines are of 6 a 15 days, some time 20 day⟨s.⟩ The Vessels from West Indies have been submitted ⟨to⟩ one of 30 days whereof 20 days to be performed at the Island of Pomeque with the Contumacy goods to be landed into the Lazarett the same as if they Should Come from Turkey or Barbary; but Since it has been Shortened to 12 days quarantine of observation as from the United States; from Gibraltar it is generally of 15 days.

I beg your reference to the regulations of the Lazarett of Marseilles which I sent to Ths. Pinikering Esqr. Secretary of State by triplicates on the 12th. May 1799, with my printed memorials on the yellow fever which I will inform you of the whole.

Just now I am informed of the arrival at the Islands of Hiéres, near Toulon of a French merchant Vessell from Tripoly in Barbary. I hope the Letters She Brings Will Confirm the happy intelligence that our Squadron have Captured at the latter days of May the Tripoline Admiral of 36 guns as well as 4 Smaller tripoline Cruisers Conveyed to Malta and that now the Bey of Tripoly is begging for peace With the United States.

We have Since about a month an English Squadron Cruizing off Toulon down to this Road of 12 men of War or Frigates, but hitherto, neutral Vessels and property on board have been respected by them tho’ bound for Marseilles, and french Vessels are often escaping to their Vigilance.

You may rely on my Exactness to Comply to the Strict Execution by me of the Sec: 7th: and 8th. of the law of the 28th. February last, and the fines nor the imprisonment, in case of forfeiture will not attain me.

I have received a letter from Rob. R. Livingston Esqr. of the 12th. July in answer to mine inclosing him a Copy of my Letter to the Commissary General of Policy to be forwarded to you after his Perusal, approving its Contents adding in the affair of the Passports you have acted with the Strictest propriety & I would recommend to you the utmost attention not to be impose⟨d⟩ upon, as I Would by no means have our Passports openly a deception on the French Government." In Haste I have the Honor to be most respectfully, Sir your most obedient humb⟨le⟩ & devoted servant

Stephen Cathalan Junr.

Please to deliver the Inclosed Letter to the Presiden⟨t.⟩

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