James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Coape Sherbrooke, 25 July 1812

From John Coape Sherbrooke

Goverment House Halifax 25th. July 1812


There being at present no public functionary of the British Goverment, within the United States, to whom I could address myself in a case of humanity, of high interest to both Countries, I take the freedom, however irregular or informal it may be, of Submitting to your Excellency’s consideration the subject of the inclosed Affidavit.1 It respects the Capture of a British Vessel, taken by an American Privateer, while in the Act of transporting Provisions for the support of the Establishment on the Isle of Sable, in the maintenance of which all nations and individuals that can feel for the miseries of Shipwreck must be particularly interested. I am convinced that Your Excellency will cheerfully adopt any measure that can prevent the recurrence of captures so inconsistent with the common principles of humanity, and it is under this impression that I leave the consideration of the greivance as well as the discussion of the remedy to the wisdom and benevolence of Your Goverment. I have the Honor to be Your Excellencys most Obedient and Humble Servant.

J. C. Sherbrooke2
Lt. Govr. of Nova Scotia

RC (DNA: RG 59, ML).

1Enclosure not found.

2Sir John Coape Sherbrooke (1764–1830) served as lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia from July 1811 to April 1816. While building up his colony’s defenses and supporting an extensive privateering campaign, Sherbrooke remained on friendly terms with the New England states, continuing trade under a licensing system throughout the War of 1812. He also led a campaign that resulted in the occupation of parts of the District of Maine for eight months in 1814 (Halpenny, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 6:712–16).

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