James Madison Papers
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Robert E. Cochran to James Monroe, 8 April 1813 (Abstract)

§ Robert E. Cochran to James Monroe

8 April 1813, Charleston. “I am directed by Judge Drayton to forward to you, for the information of the President & to receive his determination thereon, copies of certain affidavits & other papers relative to an ⟨a⟩lien enemy.”1

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 94, War of 1812, Records Relating to Prisoners, entry 127-A, box 8, folder 3, bundle 163). RC 1 p. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1Cochran enclosed a copy of an 18 Jan. 1813 letter to him from Capt. William C. Meggett of the South Carolina militia at Edisto Island (2 pp.), informing Cochran that Meggett was sending British subject Samuel Willett to him as a prisoner of war on the basis of evidence contained in enclosed copies of depositions of 17 Jan. 1813 by Sarah Wescoat (1 p.) and Daniel Lowry (2 pp.), and a copy of a 16 Jan. 1813 examination of Willett, also enclosed, by Meggett himself (2 pp.). Wescoat and Lowry alleged that Willett had made statements revealing his British sympathies, and Meggett reported that during his examination Willett said that he was only joking when he threatened to “bring an Army here and set free all of our slaves and put to death every Inhabitant.” Meggett had, nevertheless, allowed Willett to sign a parole on 16 Jan. 1813, and sent a copy of this document (2 pp.) to Cochran as well. Cochran also enclosed a copy of Meggett’s letter to him of 8 Feb. 1813 (1 p.) declaring that Willett no doubt held a “Military Office in the British Service” and requesting that he not be allowed to return to Edisto Island, whose inhabitants were “much exasperated … with his conduct.” Enclosed in Meggett’s letter was a deposition by Frances L. Maxey (1 p.), according to which Willett had said in 1811 that if war were declared between the United States and Great Britain, “he would go to Nova Scotia and get a Commission and would return for he knew well the Inlets &c and likewise those to go too.” Finally, Cochran enclosed a copy of John Drayton’s undated court order (1 p.) rescinding, on the basis of Maxey’s affidavit, his earlier order allowing Willett to post bond. Willett could not “be permitted to go at large,” Drayton concluded, and would be imprisoned without bail until deported.

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