James Madison Papers

To James Madison from David Pearce, 1 April 1813

From David Pearce

Gloucester April 1. 1813


Your Petitioner extensively engaged in privateering during the last war with England, and had the pleasure of furnishing large and seasonable supplies to his country, but for which, owing to the depreciation of Paper Credit, he never realised a suitable recompence.

Your Petitioner within a few years has lost a large fortune and is now without a bussiness, or the means of subsistence.

Your Petitioner prays for some employment in the service of his Country. He thinks himself capable of modeling, or overseeing the building, or fitting out of Vessels of War. He can be well recommended and was assured by Governor Langdon, The Hon. William Eustis and General Dearborn that they had written to interest your Honour in his favour, but nothing has yet offered he is yet waiting at the Pool.1 It is for your Excellency to speak the word and it is done. May it please your Excellency to write me a line, as did the Worthy General Washington, Let the fruit of this Petition be what it will, I would still with the greatest respect, subscribe myself, your Excellencys, steady friend and Humble Servant,

David Pearce2

RC (DNA: RG 45, Misc. Letters Received).

1No correspondence regarding Pearce between JM and Eustis, Henry Dearborn, or John Langdon has been found.

2David Pearce (ca. 1736–1818), a merchant of Gloucester, Massachusetts, was owner or part-owner of a number of privateers during the Revolutionary War. Between 1777 and 1782 the Continental government issued him ten bonds for letters of marque. In June 1809 he submitted to Congress a claim for compensation for clothing supplied to the Continental Army (Boston Columbian Centinel, 25 Mar. 1818; William Bell Clark, ed., Naval Documents of the American Revolution [11 vols. to date; Washington, D.C., 1964—], 10:90, 116, 355, 1310; John P. Butler, comp., Index, The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 [5 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1978], 3:4087–88; Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, at the First Session of the Eleventh Congress [Washington, 1809; 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 18911], 145).

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