James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John J. Murray, 26 August 1803

From John J. Murray, 26 August 1803

American Consulate City of Glasgow 26 Aug. 1803


Having but just returned from a Visit of ⟨respect⟩ to Govr. Monroe at London I have not yet ⟨h⟩ad it in my Power to obtain the necessary ⟨in⟩formation in Answer to the last clause of your ⟨Ci⟩rcular dated 9th. April, but shall endeavour ⟨to⟩ do so in a Short time & Communicate the ⟨re⟩sult to you. While at London a circumstance occured ⟨to⟩ which I attach so much importance as to make it the ⟨s⟩ubject of a Special communication to you. Having ⟨m⟩et with a Mr. Robert Elliot (a Scotchman) whom I ⟨k⟩new in George town So. Carolina, he informed me that ⟨he⟩ intended to embark for America in the Ship Washington of Charleston which Vessel would sail for ⟨Ch⟩arleston in a Short time, & offered to take any ⟨le⟩tters for me to my friends. After some conversation between us I asked Mr. Elliot who owned the ⟨Wa⟩shington. He replied without hesitation Blacklock ⟨or⟩ rather Simpson & Davidson with whom the former ⟨is⟩ concerned. Blacklock resides, or is said to reside ⟨at⟩ Charleston. Simpson & Davidson are Merchts. of ⟨Lo⟩ndon. I observed to Mr. Elliot that the Isabella of Charleston was also to sail soon for that place and asked him if he knew to whom she belonged, he replyed, as at first, without hesitation, Hamilton who was formerly a Mercht. of Charleston but who had resided for some time past, with his family ⟨at⟩ London where he intended to remain. Hamil⟨ton⟩ Mr. Elliot said was concerned with Bethune a Mercht. of London. Altho’ Mr. Elliot spoke with certainty of the names of the owners of the Ships Washington & Isabella &, of their connexions in London yet I believe he had no Idea of my Making an official communication thereof, for it could be a difficult matter indeed, as far as I can judge of the Scotch Character, to get a Scotchman to be an evidence (knowing himself to be [. . .] against a Countryman especially in matters ⟨of⟩ foreign relations. As Mr. Elliot will spend the ensuing winter between George town & Charleston in w[. . .] places he has some commercial business—I submi⟨t⟩ to you the propriety of having these Ships (the Washington & Isabella) seized and also of haveing Mr. ⟨Elliots⟩ evidence respecting them taken on the Spot. Surely if he adheres to what he voluntarily communicated to me these Vessels will be forfeited to the United States.

I have had no communication with our Consul at London on the Subject but if he is vigilant I have no doubt that he will be able to confirm what Elliot told me—at all events with respect to the residence of Hamilton in London. With the highest Respect I have the honor to be Sir Yr. Most Ob Hble Sert.,

John J Murray

Consul of the United States of America at Glasgow

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