James Madison Papers
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From James Madison to John Graham, 2 September 1809

To John Graham

Montpellier Sepr. 2. 1809

Dear Sir

I now return you the Copy of Clarke agst. Wilkinson, with my thanks for your attention in forwarding it. I have not had time to do more than to turn over a few casual pages; but having just recd. another Copy, it is unnecessary to detain that belonging to the office.

I return also the letters recd. by yesterday’s mail.1 Would it not be proper to let Mr. Rodney have the contents of that from Judge Sprigg? The information given by Mr. Grymes deserves attention, and the ideas suggested by him seem to be proper.2 If Mr. Smith should not be in Washington, it may be well for you to communicate with Mr. Gallatin on the subject, who may perhaps see occasion to remodel his instructions to the Collectors. If those from the Dept. of State require revisal, Mr. S. will of course attend to it. It will be at least expedient, so to frame the pardons as to throw the costs from the U. S. on those whose gainful violations of the law, can so well bear it. I think also that either thro’ Govr. Claiborne, or directly thro’ the Consuls in Cuba, or rather thro’ both, it ought [to] be made known there, that a voluntary or collusive subserviency in our vessels, to the importations in question, will not escape the penalties of the law.

Be so good as to send me a copy of the Acts of the last Session. I forgot to bring one with me and have felt the want of it in several instances. Be assured of my sincere esteem & best wishes

James Madison

RC (DNA: RG 59, Misc. Letters). Docketed by Graham.

1Letters not found.

2Philip Grymes from Madison County, Virginia, was appointed district attorney of the Orleans Territory by Jefferson and also served in the Public Land Office as register for the eastern district of Orleans (Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 2: 69, 110). In his capacity as district attorney he asked Robert Smith for information on enforcement of the 28 June legislation authorizing French refugees from Cuba to retain their slaves while in the U.S. (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 , 2:549–50). Smith replied that “the President has decided that in all Cases where vessels have been libelled for a violation of the Law prohibiting the Importation of slaves” the ships were to be released upon “the Payment of Costs by the Party” (Smith to Grymes, 7 Sept. 1809 [DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters]).

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