James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Speaker of the House of Representatives, 9 April 1806

Department of State April 9th. 1806.

The Secretary of State, to whom on the 28 ult referred by the House of Representatives the petition of Jared Shattuck, has the honor to make the following report:

That it appears, that the petitioner’s ship the Mercator and her Cargo, were detained in the Year 1800 by lieutenant Maley, commanding the Schooner Experiment, a vessel of War of the United States of America, and ordered to Cape François for examination by Commodore Talbot: That whilst they were in the possession of lieutenant Maley’s prize-master, they were seized by the British privateer General Simcoe, carried to Jamaica and Condemned in the Court of Vice Admiralty, as prize to the said privateer: That the condemnation took place after a Claim had been duly filed on behalf of the present petitioner in the said court; that on an application being made to the Executive for restitution, a judicial investigation was suggested, and as lieutenant Maley was represented as being insolvent and absent, the Attorney for the District of Pennsylvania inpursuance of instructions given to him, entered his appearance in an amicable suit, "with a view to a judicial investigation of the case,” but it was stipulated, "that a final decree in the Suit against William Maley should not in any degree involv⟨e⟩ the decision upon the question, whether the United States are responsible; which question was to remain open to be determined wherever else it may be proper:”

That in February term last, ajudgment in ⟨the⟩ last resort was given against lieutenant Maley for the Sum of $33,864 55 Cents by the Supreme Court of the United States, to whic⟨h⟩ the suit had been removed by the Counsel of the United States:*

* see the Decree No. 192

That limiting the consideration to what has been done by the Legislature in Similar Cases, to the general policy of the United States to favor the redress of wrongs on the high Seas, and to the particular features of this case, with the personal circumstances of lieutenant Maley it is the opinion of………………… the Secretary of State, that provision ought to be made for the payment of that Sum and the Costs of Suit to the petitioner.

All which is respectfully submitted By

James Madison

DNA: RG 233—LRHR—Legislative Records of the House of Representatives.

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