James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert Montgomery, 25 March 1807

Alicante 25 March 1807.


My respects of the 30th. January advised the detention of the Ship Cyrus of Boston and Schr. Sibae of Cohaset by a French Corsair under pretext that the Cargoes onboard these Vessels were English fish. I have since been deprived of any letters from Government, but have the pleasure to Advise that I have by a Course of law been able to liberate the Schooner Sibae and Cargo. I expect the Cyrus will also be freed and damages recovered for the detention of both; the Minister of State Dn. Pedro de Cevallos having Ordered that the Tribunals Should Judge Similar cases in the first instance agreeable to my pressing request for this purpose. I shall now prosecute for damages with all possible energy as well to prevent or Check future attempts of this nature, as to obtain repairation of the loss a⟨   ⟩ing by these detentions and Shall have the honor of advising You my Success.

On the 15 January the Schooner Morningstar, of Chatham, Joshua Atkins arrived here with fish from Branstable, but having no Certificate to the bill of Health, nor Other document from the Spanish Consul and having two Sick men onboard, they were ordered immediately from hence, the officers of health alleging that these had the Yellow fever. I remonstrated against their being turned out of the Port and insisted that the disorder in Question could not exist in any of the northern States at the time this Vessel Sailed from Branstable. The Schooner was however drove off, only allowing me a very short time to Send Water and Provisions onboard. The Board of Health here immediately represented to the Court tha⟨t⟩ the Schr. Morning Star had the Contagion onboard and brought it fr⟨om⟩ the United States in consequence of Which an Order was issued to co⟨n⟩tinue a rigorous Quarantine on All Vessesl coming from thence, a⟨l⟩tho’ our representations have Shewn that after the frosts Sett in ev⟨ery⟩ Contagion or epidemic of this nature is destroyed by it, that the Patien⟨ts⟩ had been Sick twenty two days and that they had not spoken a Vessel on their Passage, and the remainder of the Crew in Perf⟨ect⟩ health. Yet the Quarantine is continued with the utmost sever⟨ity⟩ altho’ there had been an Order to reduce it to ten or twelve day⟨s⟩ but a few days befor the Arrival of this Schooner

I have had the Satisfaction of learning the Arrival ⟨of⟩ the Morning Star at Leghorn. One of the Sick men died on ⟨the⟩ Passage but the remainder are in perfect health. I have wr⟨itten⟩ for a Certificate from the Board of Health at Leghorn, that ⟨the⟩ Vessel was not found to have had the Yellow fever onboard a⟨nd⟩ this to be Legalized by the Spanish Consul there. This sha⟨ll⟩ be presented to the board of Health at Madrid by Which we ⟨   ⟩ hope again to reduce the Quarantine So highly destructive to ⟨our⟩ Commerce. I have the honor to be truly Sir Your Obedient humble Servant

Robt Montgomery

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

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