§ From Lemuel Taylor1
29 May 1812, Baltimore. Encloses a letter2 received from the supercargo of his ship, the Ploughboy,3 “which, being one month later in date than the one from Mr: Barlow to Mr: Munroe4 announcing that her case was ordered for revision, has destroyed the hopes that this annunciation would otherwise have encouraged me to cherish.” “My object in … troubling you with this enclosure, is to shew the probability, that from my own Government, & not from that of France, am I alone to hope for redress; & my apology for this course, will be found in [the] fact … that by this capture & the seizure in Holland referred to by Mr: Wilmer, the fruits of many years laborious industry are wrested from me; that I am thereby most unjustly subjected to a loss exceeding $300,0005 & that instead of a comfortable competency, for a growing family, I must, unless redressed by my country, again begin the world, & under circumstances of most unpromising aspect.” Believes that Barlow had done his duty as a minister and a friend. Adds in a postscript that he was also “a heavy sufferer by the seizures at St: Sebastians & Naples.”
RC (DNA: RG 76, France, Unbound Records relating to Spoliation Claims). 2 pp. In an unidentified hand; complimentary close, signature, and initials in Taylor’s hand. For enclosure, see n. 2.
1. Lemuel Taylor was a Baltimore merchant with offices at 47 S. Gay Street. He also served as a member of the board of directors for the Maryland Insurance Company and the Baltimore Water Company (Baltimore Directory for 1810 [Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 19415], p. 174; William Fry, Fry’s Baltimore Directory for the Year 1812 [Baltimore, 1812; Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 25480], pp. 26, 30–31).
2. Taylor probably enclosed a 15 Apr. 1812 letter from John Wilmer, which had enclosed a copy of the judgment against Taylor’s ship, the Ploughboy (not found). Wilmer reported that he had been assured that proceeds from the sale of the captured ship’s seized cargo would be “arrested until a final decision,” but as the day of the sale drew near and he did not receive an order to arrest the funds, he had come to fear the worst.
3. The Ploughboy had sailed from Baltimore in June 1810 and was captured by the French as it approached Sylt, Denmark. It was condemned at Paris on 9 Jan. 1811 (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61). description ends , Foreign Relations, 6:431, 446, 449).
4. In his 16 Mar. 1812 dispatch to Monroe, Barlow reported that in response to his repeated remonstrances concerning “frivolous or false” condemnation of American cargoes, the French government showed “a disposition to revise the judgments.” He noted specifically that the case of the Ploughboy was “ordered for revision” (DNA: RG 59, DD, France; printed in the National Intelligencer, 28 May 1812).
5. Taylor’s representatives requested compensation for his seven-eighths share in the ship, worth $20,000, and a nine-tenths share in the cargo, “sold for upwards of $250,000.” Taylor was part owner of at least five other captured vessels for which his representatives continued to place claims at least until 1827 (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61). description ends , Foreign Relations, 6:449).