James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Jones, 12 May 1813

From William Jones

May 12. 1813


It is probable you may have seen the attack upon Commodore Murray in the Democratic Press and as he is the senior officer in the Navy of the U. States I deem it but just that he also should be heard and therefore enclose his letters and its enclosures for your perusal.1

The gentlemen to whom he alludes as being present I know very well they are worthy men and our political friends. Murrays party prejudices may be warm but I do not think he would commit a dishonorable act. I am very respectfully your Obdt Servt

W Jones

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1Jones no doubt enclosed Alexander Murray’s letter to him of 9 May 1813 (3 pp.; DNA: RG 45, Captains’ Letters), in which Murray requested “the privilege of being defended” against accusations published by John Binns in the Philadelphia Democratic Press of 6 May 1813, of which Murray enclosed an extract (not found), along with a letter to him from Binns (not found). The Democratic Press asserted that Murray, who was responsible for the defense of the port of Philadelphia, had been “actually seen walking arm in arm with an English Naval Officer, belonging to the blockading Squadron, through our Navy Yard!!!” Murray informed Jones that the marshal of Philadelphia had sent some British officers to the U.S. navy yard without his knowledge, that he had interacted with them as little as possible and sent them away as soon as possible, and that this had been witnessed by “Messrs. Penrose, Cutbush, Weeks, Wade, Kingston & others.” He added that the officers had also been brought to his house, again without his agency, and that a young midshipman had dined with his family before being sent back to the boat. These were the actions, Murray concluded, for which Binns had so “basely traduced” him.

Index Entries