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To James Madison from Isaac H. Borden, 19 October 1811 (Abstract)

§ From Isaac H. Borden

19 October 1811. The petitioner, a U.S. citizen residing in Troy, Massachusetts, explains that on 4 Jan. 1811 he chartered his schooner, the George, to Jeremiah Murden, a U.S. citizen residing in Charleston, South Carolina, on the understanding that the schooner would proceed from Charleston to Beaufort, South Carolina, and then to Port Antonio, Jamaica. “The said Schooner did proceed, for Port Antonio where she arrived on the 11th of February 1811—and having delivered her freight, received on board, twenty five Puncheons of Rum for the Charterer, and twelve Puncheons for your Petitioner.” With this cargo Borden left Port Antonio on 15 Mar. and arrived on 4 Apr. in Charleston, where he was arrested for violating the sixth section of the Nonintercourse Act. Borden swears that when he entered Charleston “he was profoundly ignorant, of any Law which interdicted the Commercial intercourse between the United States and Great Britain, and her dependencies,” and that “the before mentioned Jeremiah Murden (Charterer) had taken every means in his power, to convoy this information to your petitioner, in all of which he unfortunately failed, the particular causes of which failure are set forth in the said Jeremiah Murdens affidavit hereunto annexed.”1 Explains that the schooner has been condemned by the South Carolina district court, that he has been “imprisoned for the Penalties incured under the foregoing prosecution, that he is utterly unable to pay the penalties and must unless relieved by your Excellency remain in Goal without the most distant prospect of liberation.” Requests that JM “afford him such relief as shall seem equitable.”2

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, Petitions for Pardon, no. 57). RC 2 pp. Signed by Henry Gray with the notation: “Sworn to before me this 19th of October 1811.” For enclosure, see n. 1.

1Borden enclosed a one-page affidavit from Jeremiah Murden, dated 10 July 1811, explaining that when Murden got word that vessels sailing from British ports were to be seized upon entering U.S. ports, he assumed that Borden would have been informed of this turn of events and would sail for Amelia Island. Murden wrote twice “to a friend in Amelia, desiring him to do what, was necessary, in the disposal of the Cargo.” He also “gave two Letters to the Pilots, addressed to Captain Borden, to be delivered to him, shoud they have met him at Sea, apprizing him, of the non intercourse act, and desiring him, not to enter into this Port, agreeably to the Charter Party but immediately to proceed to Amelia.”

2JM appears to have forwarded the petition and enclosure to Gallatin, who enclosed them in a 4 Nov. letter to Simeon Theus, collector at Charleston. Theus returned them in his 15 Nov. letter to Gallatin (ibid.), which explained that Borden had, in fact, been informed of the passage of the Nonintercourse Act before his departure from Jamaica and had been warned not to return to the U.S. from a British port with cargo. Gallatin forwarded Theus’s letter to JM with a note: “This is a violation of the non-importation on which the Secy. of Treasy. would not remit penalties if the application had been made to him.… As however the vessel & cargo have been condemned, a pardon might issue for the other penalties ⟨In⟩curred by Borden who is in jail.” JM wrote below Gallatin’s note: “Let a pardon issue under the limitation above suggested / J. M.” A note in a clerk’s hand follows: “pardon issued 4th Decr. 1811.”

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