James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Samuel Smith, 28 September 1805

From Samuel Smith

Balte. 28. septr. 1805

Dr. sir

The inclosed extract of a Letter (also from Mackenzie & Glennie)1 differs from that to Mr Taylor by the Words “Scored” which were interlined in the letter to Mesrs. Gilmor & Sons & not in that to Mr. Taylor—those words give a quite different turn to the whole Case. But there is in this extract a New Principle not before known—to wit—all Vessels & their Cargoes bound from an Enemies Port direct to the East or West Indies are good Prize—this Doctrine is New—from the Mother Country to a Colony in either we knew, was not Considered legal. Indeed It does appear that when we Conform to One declared System, as in the Correspondence between Mr. King & Lord. Hy. they the British institute a New System, that Involves the Neutrals in unforeseen Ruin.2 The Trade of the U.S. Subject to Condemnation under this Novel doctrine, Cannot be less than Five Millions of Dollars. I should Suppose It would be Eight Millions. I am Dr. sir with Mrs Smith’s Love to Mrs. M. your friend & servt

S. Smith

RC and enclosure (DLC). For enclosure, see n. 1.

1The enclosure (1 p.; filed at 25 July 1809) is an extract from Scottish merchants Mackenzie & Glennie to Baltimore merchants Robert Gilmor & Sons, 25 July [1805], which stated: “In consequence of some new instructions issued by our Government, the British cruizers are bringing into port for adjudication, all American vessels bound direct to ports in Holland or France that have plantation property on board; and two cargoes have been condemned that had been brought from St. Domingo ⟨or⟩; Guadaloupe to America, there landed, and the duties bonded, and reshipped in the same vessel, and consigned to Antwerp. Upon this last voyage they were stopped, and it seems to be the judges determination to condemn all French or Dutch Colonial property if it is found going to ports in the mother Country in the same vessel it was brought from the Colony in, unless it is clearly proved that it has been bona fide sold in America; and all vessels and their cargoes bound from ports of France or Holland, direct to the East or West Indies will be condemned. This last mentioned trade our confidential counsel admits is illegal, being contrary to the acknowledged laws of nations.”

2For JM’s earlier discussion of the new British marine regulation, see JM to Monroe, 24 Sept. 1805.

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