James Madison Papers

John S. Skinner to James Monroe, 7 January 1814

John S. Skinner to James Monroe

Annapolis 7th. Jany 1814.


I have the honour to inform you that I arrived here the day after I received your instructions and the next morning visited the Flag of Truce, lying in this Harbour.1 They have been supplied with such Articles as are at present necessary for the subsistence and comfort of the Crew and every proper facility will be afforded in obtaining such as may be required on their passage Home. I shall suffer private letters to go by her under the usual restrictions unless otherwise instructed.

The Commanding Officer of the Flag vessel has shewn me his instructions wherein he is directed to remain here two weeks. But should it be the wish of the American Government he is directed to extend his continuance to three weeks. He says if He had not been delayed by a gale off the grand Banks he would have arrived here on or about the 8th. Decr.

If there be nothing improper in the enquiry I should be glad to learn when she will probably have leave to depart.2 As the British Government has no agent Here—to indorse or become responsible for the government Bills which will be offered by the Flag Officer in pay for his provisions,* some difficulty is apprehended on that score, which it will be my duty by every means in my power to obviate. I have the Honor to be Sir very respectfully your Obt. Servt.

John S. Skinner.

* amounting to about 150 or 200 pounds sterling.

RC (DNA: RG 59, ML). On the verso of the last sheet, Monroe wrote: “How shall the supplies be paid for? It appears that they are yet to be procurd. Shall they be procurd on the credit of this govt. keeping an acct.? It will prevent delay & be an act of courtesy.” JM wrote in reply: “The supplies to be procured either on a rect of the Bills unendorsed, or on a common receipt for the supplies—by Mr. S.”

1Monroe’s instructions to Skinner have not been found, but they evidently referred to the British schooner Bramble, which arrived in Annapolis on 30 Dec. 1813 with dispatches including Lord Castlereagh’s offer of peace negotiations at either London or Gothenburg (Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser, 31 Dec. 1813; JM to Congress, 6 Jan. 1814, and n. 1).

2On 10 Jan. 1814 Skinner reported to Monroe that he had received the latter’s commands regarding the Bramble, that Monroe’s reply to Castlereagh’s offer as well as letters for Reuben G. Beasley would be delivered to the Bramble upon its departure, which would be no later than the next morning, that adequate supplies had been obtained despite some delay, and that Skinner planned “to get the officer’s Bills negotiated at the Farmers Bank at their own risque” (DNA: RG 59, ML).

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