James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Jones, 11 February 1811

From William Jones

Philada 11 Feb. 1811


The enclosed circular is I believe the only one of the kind received here this day and as none of our papers have published it although it was here before noon, I deemed it of some importance to put it in your possession as soon as possible.1 I know not whether the translation be correct, but it appears to me necessary to enclose in a parenthesis the words “the vessels taken or detained before being alone under Sequestration” in the last paragraph, in order to render the sense complete, otherwise the class of Prizes most obnoxious would be the first restored, and the other remain suspended. With the most sincere respect And regard I am Sir Your Obdt Servt

Wm Jones

RC (DLC). Enclosure not found, but see n. 1.

1Jones evidently enclosed a copy of a circular sent by the French minister of justice to the president of the Council of Prizes, dated at Paris on 25 Dec. 1810. This circular consisted of copies of the duc de Cadore’s 5 Aug. 1810 letter to John Armstrong and JM’s 2 Nov. 1810 proclamation. It also included instructions from Napoleon to the following effect: that all cases before the Council of Prizes respecting American captures dating from 1 Nov., and those that might be brought afterward, should not be decided according to the principles of the Berlin and Milan decrees but should remain suspended, the vessels previously seized being only placed under sequestration, and reserving to the proprietors their rights until 2 Feb. 1811, when, in consequence of the U.S. fulfilling its engagement to make its rights respected, the captures must be declared null and the vessels restored to their owners. Translations of the circular appeared in several American newspapers (see Aurora General Advertiser, 12 Feb. 1811; National Intelligencer, 14 Feb. 1811; JM to Jones, 13 Feb. 1811).

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