James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Henry Hill, 10 February 1807

New York Feby 10th. 1807.


Having been absent from the city a few days past, it was not untill this morning I had the honor of receiving your letter of the 4th. Inst., with ⟨a⟩ commission constituting me agent of the United States ⟨for⟩ seamen, to reside in the Island of Jamaica, and ⟨my⟩ passport.

It is with sentiments of gratitude I ⟨ac⟩knowledge, and accept, the favor which the president ⟨ha⟩s been pleased to confer upon me by appointing me ⟨to⟩ that charge, and I trust I shall execute the duties ⟨en⟩joined upon me by it, with advantage to my country ⟨a⟩nd to the sattisfaction of the Executive.

The tenor of the commission differs ⟨in⟩ some respect from what I expected, as it expresses ⟨on⟩ly an agency for seamen. I am not anxious ⟨for⟩ emolument of office further than would be sufficient with proper economy to sattisfy the expen⟨ses⟩ that will be incident to my situation, as it is no⟨t⟩ from any expectation or desire of pecuniary profit that I have accepted of the appointment; but I a⟨m⟩ solicitous from regard to personal considerations, th⟨at⟩ it should be as honorable as is compatible with t⟨he⟩ interest and views of my government to make.

I trust I shall not assume any authority not given me by my commission and the nature ⟨of⟩ my appointment, neither shall I wish to omit any duty that will be incumbent upon me, wher⟨eby⟩ my country may be benefitted. I am therefore ind⟨uced⟩ to ask, (and I trust I shall be excused for the inqui⟨ry)⟩ whether the duties of commercial agent will dev⟨olve⟩ upon me, particularly under the act of congress ⟨of⟩ the 28th. of Feby. 1803.

In the letter I had lately the hon⟨or⟩ of addressing you, I mentioned my intention of proce⟨eding⟩ to Jamaica by way of Havana; but considerin⟨g⟩ the uncertainty of an opportunity from thence ⟨to⟩ the place of my destination, and the expence and delay, that rout, would occasion me, I now propose ⟨to⟩ proceed direct to Kingston, in a vessel bound thither ⟨to⟩ leave this port in 7 or 8 days. Be pleased Sir, to accept the assurances ⟨of⟩ regard and respect, with which I have the honor to be Sir your mo. ob. servt

Henry Hill Jr.

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

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