James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Gamble, 9 August 1807

Philadelphia August 9. 1807


On my recent arrival in this City from the West Indies, I had the honor to receive a Commission, appointing me Consul for the Danish Island of Santa Cruz, for which am extremely thankful, and in the performance of the duties annexed to the appointment, be assured all my faculties shall be exerted, for the interest of the United States.

The inclosed Bond, would have been forwarded in due time, but for the omission of a letter, in inserting my name in the Commission, which prevented it from Coming to my hands, as soon as it Otherwise would have done; this mistake, with your permission I Can readily Correct, by introducing the letter F between the Thomas and Gamble, for which their is sufficient space.

I am afraid I may be thought presumptuous in attempting to point out the propriety, of One of the Agents of the United States at the Danish Islands, having Superior power to the other;

for which purpose, I shall take the liberty of Stating

That heretofore the Consular duties on the Islands, have been performed by Agents unaccred⟨ited⟩ by the Danish Government, and from the frequency of those duties, relating only to Custom House for⟨ms⟩ and the protection of American Seamen, any oth⟨ers⟩ perhaps would have been unnecessary; but

in the event of a War, between the United Sta⟨tes⟩ and Great Britain, the geographical Situati⟨on⟩ of the Danish Islands, and their being the only Neutral Ones in the West Indies, will render it of great importance to the United States, to have an Agent, with official power, and abilities, as an individual, to take Charge of her interests there

In the event Contemplated, the Danish Islands may be a Channel thro’ which, the English col⟨o⟩nies will get Supplies of American produce, an⟨d⟩ will be the medium of Communication between the United States, and the friendly W. India Colonies It can be readily Conceived, that, under those Circumstances, Many Cases will occur, which will require the interference of the American Agent, and will necessarily lead, to frequent Communications with the Danish Government; in an intercourse with a Government Constituted as is the Danish W. India Government, delicacy of management, is requisite; which might be effected, by the address of One, And would probably be frustrated, by the interference of Another.

I take the liberty of further Stating, that Santa Cruz is the residence of the Commander of the Danish Islands; and that the Islands St. Thomas, & St. Johns are properly speaking its dependencies, the appointment of a Consul General for the Danish Islands, would I am well assured be pleasing to the Danish Government, and have no doubts, but that it would Conduce to the honor, and interest, of the United States

The foregoing I am Well aware, may have an appearance of emanating from Selfish Views, & may be thought insidious, as it relates to the Consul at St. Thomas; but flatter myself that al⟨tho’⟩ it may not meet your approbation, that you will appreciate my motive justly, and asc⟨ribe⟩ it to a zealous desire, to be of Service to ⟨my⟩ Country. Indisposition has prevented me, from ⟨person⟩ally waiting on you at Washington, which has ⟨been⟩ my intention, as many things might be urged, w⟨hich⟩ I think would have weight in reccommending the measure suggested, but which are difficu⟨lt⟩ to arrange, with effect, in a written Communica⟨tion.⟩

I should esteem myself highly honored, if y⟨ou⟩ would gratify me, with an answer previous to my departure, for the West Indies, which will probably be in the Course of two or three Week⟨s⟩

I beg leave to refer you to the docume⟨nt⟩ that Accompanied my application for the Consu⟨lship⟩ And With much respect remain Sir Your mo obedt. Serva⟨nt⟩

Thomas F. Gamble

DNA: RG 59—CD—Consular Despatches, St. Croix.

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