James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Barker Church, 18 May 1816

American Consulate Cork 18 May 1816


Having remained to this Time without the Honor ⟨of⟩ receiving any Communication from your Excellency’s Government, I feel it encumbent on ⟨me⟩ to state to your Excellency the Degree of Libertinism, Desertion & remarkable ⟨   ⟩ness I observe (of late) at this port amongst the Seamen of the United States, the ⟨re⟩sult of which Propensity has caused within a short Time a multitude of ⟨qu⟩ite unusual (& many of them ungrounded) Applications to me for Relief fro⟨m⟩ such Sailors--and I have found it necessary (from having detected many ⟨at⟩tempts to deceive me) to adopt more than ordinary vigilance to discour⟨age imp⟩ostors & to discriminate between the worthy & unworthy. But altho’ ⟨the⟩ latter I regret to say have hitherto proved nearly as numerous as ⟨the⟩ former, my advances to relieve cases appearing to merit my attentio⟨n ha⟩ve been very heavy.

During the last twenty years, ⟨a⟩ Fear of being impressed into the English naval service, I must observe, ⟨w⟩as a great Check on American Seamen to prevent them leaving their ⟨na⟩tive shipping, & from indulging in viccious practices on Shore, ⟨bu⟩t now that the System of Impressment has entirely ceased, with the ⟨ge⟩neral Peace of Europe, that apprehension on the part of foreign sailors ⟨(imp⟩ressment) no longer exists, & I attribute to the Security with which ⟨in⟩ this Respect the American Seamen can wander about, & idle, ⟨the⟩ present unfavourable Conduct it becomes my Duty to report in ⟨reg⟩ard to them.

I wish very much to have the Honour ⟨of⟩ hearing from your Excellency on this & other Important Matters ⟨rel⟩ative to which I heretofore took the Liberty of addressing you, & with ⟨the⟩ highest respect I have the Honour to remain Your Excellency’s Most obedt. Servant

James B. Church

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

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