James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Albert Gallatin, [ca. 10 May 1805]

From Albert Gallatin

[ca. 10 May 1805]

It seems evident from the 3d Section of the act,1 that the three months wages must be paid even in the case mentioned by Mr. Maury;2 nor could constructive instructions to the contrary be given, without affecting the rights of the seamen, who become entitled to their two months whenever they go or are put on board a vessel bound to the United States.

The enclosed form,3 has been transmitted to all the consuls, for rendering their accounts for monies received & paid on account of seamen. Whether this, which was done in pursuance of the provisions of the act, interferes with the instructions to settle with the Consul at London, will appear when the first accounts shall be received; and any necessary modification may then be adopted

A. G.

On one of the points alluded to by the Consul, observe that by the Act to amend the act intituled “an Act concerning the registering & recording of ship<s> & vessels,”4 precludes persons naturalized in the U.S. & residing for more than one year in their native country, or for more than two year<s> in any foreign country, from the privileges of having registered vessels. The Collectors have been instructed not to grant Sea-letters to vessels thus owned; and, by parity of reasoning, consuls might be instructed not to grant them certificates of ownership, nor otherwise to recognise such persons as citizens. The Attorney general has also given an opinion that a naturalised citizen returning to his native country loses during his residence there the privileges of american citizen<s>.


RC and enclosure (DLC: Gallatin Papers). RC undated; date assigned based on Wagner’s docket on James Maury to JM, 14 Mar. 1805. On the verso of the RC, Gallatin wrote: “Remarks of the Secry. of the Treasury on Mr. Maury’s letter.” Filed after 29 June 1805. For enclosure, see n. 3.

1“An Act supplementary to the ‘act concerning Consuls and Vice-Consuls, and for the further protection of American Seamen,’ “ 28 Feb. 1803 (U.S. Statutes at Large, description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends 2:203–4).

3The enclosure is a printed ledger form (2 pp.) for accounts of funds received and expended by consuls from 1 Jan. to 30 June 1805, in accordance with the law. The form allows consuls a commission of two and a half percent on sums expended and provides spaces for the names and home ports of vessels, the names of owners, captains, and seamen, the monthly wages and amounts received for each seaman, and the total amounts received.

4U.S. Statutes at Large, description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends 2:296–97.

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