James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Joseph Warner Rose, 23 January 1807

Antigua January 23rd: 1807.


My last Respects was under date the 1st: Ulto: duplicate of which ⟨you⟩ have herewith. I am sorry to observe that since the above period the American Ves⟨sels⟩ have been detained and sent into this Port both on their outward and homeward Pas⟨sages⟩, and in several instances not the smallest grounds for the detention.

If you will be good enough to refer to the list of detained Vessels you will ⟨obse⟩rve the Ship Thomas Wilson Jos: Gardner Master belonging to Mr: Jno: Donnell ⟨of⟩ Baltimore bound to Martinique & La ’Guira with a Cargo and Specie to the amount ⟨of o⟩ne hundred and thirty five thousand Dollars This Vessel had too Valuable a ⟨C⟩argo (as the Captors observed) to be released without a strict Scrutiny. The Papers were very clear and every document on board that could be demanded by this Court so ⟨   ⟩etly attended to that they were under the necessity of acknowledging the same ⟨   ⟩ without the knowledge of the Claimant the Captors broke open the Hatches ⟨and⟩ took some part of the Cargo on Deck on suspicion of having contra band Arti⟨cles.⟩ As soon as it came to my Knowledge I represented this Conduct to the Judge ⟨whe⟩n a stop was put to it and the Vessel liberated and proceeded on her Voyage I am ⟨fu⟩lly persuaded that no Orders from Great Britain could sanction such interrup⟨tio⟩n, to the American Commerce in these Seas. In the case of the Schooner Enter⟨pri⟩ze, Geohegan Master from Baltimore to Martinique with Flour, Wine, Candles, ⟨an⟩d a few small Articles the Captors thought proper to land the Cargo not with the ⟨app⟩robation of the Claimant and after having probed every barrel and opened ⟨eve⟩ry package for the purpose as the Captors observed of finding Warlike Stores they found the Claimant innocent and the Captors guilty of an illegal Act. the ceremony of Writs of unlivery and inspection is not thought worthy of Attentio⟨n⟩ In this case the Captors refused to defray the expences and I am determined ⟨to⟩ try the Question the next Court and I have no doubt a principle which has been so frequently determined in favor of the Claimant cannot on any ground be reversed in this Court. From the frequent Question that arises in the Admira⟨lty⟩ of Naturalization I must beg leave to ask what determines a Citizen of the Unit⟨ed⟩ States at large, and how far a Citizen Admitted in one of the States is equivale⟨nt⟩ to the adoption of the General Government. On the 23rd: August I informed you of the Condemnation of Brig Triton Printess Master and on the 21st: Inst. a similar case ⟨came⟩ on of the Schooner Horizon Jerkins Master which Vessel with five hogsheads ⟨of⟩ Sugar and six Tierces Coffee part of her Cargo was Condemned It appeared by the At⟨tes⟩tation of the Master in support of the Claim that he had disposed of his outwa⟨rd⟩ Cargo at Dominica & received in payment Ten hogsheads of Rum Specie & Bills ⟨of⟩ Exchange he went to Guadeloupe where he took in five Hogsheads of Sugar and ⟨   ⟩ six Tierces of Coffee in payment of a Balance due upon a Cargo disposed of at Guad⟨e⟩loupe, in March last The Court was of Opinion that no Bills had been received ⟨as⟩ none Appeared in the possession of Captain Jerkins (he having sent them on by ot⟨her⟩ Opportunities) but Specie had been received in payment which had been vested ⟨in⟩ Colonial Produce and considering the Trade as not the direct Trade permitted by ⟨the⟩ Order of Council Condemned the Schooner and that part of the Cargo reserving the Question as to the remainder of the Specie and Rum, on board which appeared ⟨   ⟩ly, to have been taken at Dominica in part payment of the outward Cargo The Question reserved was whether as the Rum and Specie not having been employ’d ⟨in⟩ this indirect Trade were confiscable as coming within the Order which point was ⟨giv⟩en up by the Captors Advocates without an Argument. The Court was evidently ⟨gui⟩ded by the Sentence pronounced in the Triton but in this case the rule appears ⟨to b⟩e more rigidly inforced the Court having presumed in opposition to the Oath ⟨of⟩ the Master that a part of the Proceeds of the outward Cargo disposed of in Dominica ⟨   ⟩e Vested in Produce at Guadeloupe whereas in the Triton the Trade fully ap⟨pea⟩red. I have the Honor to be Sir, Your Obedient & Humble Servant

Joseph Warner Rose

DNA: RG 59—CD—Consular Despatches, Antigua.

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