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From James Madison to the Senate, 6 July 1812 (Abstract)

§ To the Senate

6 July 1812. “I transmit to the Senate copies and extracts of documents in the Archives of the Department of State, falling within the purview of their Resolution of the 4th instant,1 on the subject of British Impressments from American vessels.2 The information, tho’ voluminous, might have been enlarged, with more time for research and preparation. In some instances, it might at the same time, have been abridged, but for the difficulty of separating the matter, extranious to the immediate object of the Resolution.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 46, Legislative Proceedings, 12A-E2). RC 1 p. In the hand of Edward Coles, signed by JM. Printed in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61). description ends , Foreign Relations, 3:573. For enclosures, see n. 2.

1On a motion of George W. Campbell of Tennessee, the Senate had resolved “That the President of the United States be requested to lay before the Senate a copy of such discussions and correspondence, relative to British impressments of seamen from American vessels, as may not have been heretofore communicated” (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 12th Cong., 1st sess., 317).

2The enclosures include extracts of letters from Thomas Jefferson, Timothy Pickering, and Rufus King, ranging in date from 11 June 1792 to 20 Feb. 1800. The letters complain of the impropriety of impressment, deplore the proposed use of certificates of citizenship to prevent the removal of American sailors, suggest means of discovering and returning British deserters to their ships in a fashion that would better protect American maritime rights, and propose methods of retrieving American sailors wrongfully taken (printed in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61). description ends , Foreign Relations, 3:574–76).

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