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From James Madison to Congress, 22 January 1813 (Abstract)

§ To Congress

22 January 1813. Transmits “copies of a correspondence between John Mitchell, agent for American Prisoners of War at Halifax, and the British Admiral commanding at that station.”1 Also transmits “copies of a letter from commodore Rodgers to the Secretary of the Navy.”2

RC and enclosures, two copies (DNA: RG 233, President’s Messages, 12A-D1; DNA: RG 46, President’s Messages, 12A-E2). First RC 1 p.; in the hand of Edward Coles, signed by JM. RC and enclosures printed in the Daily National Intelligencer, 25 Jan. 1813. For enclosures, see nn.

1A provisional agreement for the exchange of naval prisoners of war was concluded at Halifax on 28 Nov. 1812 by Richard John Uniacke, the advocate general for Nova Scotia; William Miller, British agent for prisoners of war at Halifax; John Mitchell, late consul of the U.S. at Cuba and American agent for prisoners of war at Halifax; John Mason, commissary general for prisoners of the U.S.; and Thomas Barclay, royal agent for prisoners of war. Monroe ratified the cartel on behalf of the U.S. on 14 May 1813 (DNA: RG 59, War of 1812 Papers, Agreements for Exchange of Prisoners of War).

The enclosures that JM transmitted included an extract (4 pp.) from John Mitchell to James Monroe, 5 Dec. 1812, covering Mitchell’s correspondence with John Borlase Warren and expressing concern over proof of nativity and application protocols; a copy of Mitchell to Warren, 1 Dec. 1812 (2 pp.), directing the release of American citizens impressed on board the Centurion and Statira; a copy of Warren to Mitchell, 1 Dec. 1812 (3 pp.), claiming to allow the discharge of impressed Americans with proof of their nativity and permitting men on board British ships to make application only through their commanding officers; a copy of Mitchell to Warren, 3 Dec. 1812 (2 pp.), requesting clarification of the policy of not receiving applications from impressed seamen claiming U.S. citizenship; and a copy of Warren to Mitchell, 4 Dec. 1812 (2 pp.), responding to the policy that any address by men on board British ships must be made directly through the commanders of the vessels.

2The enclosure is a copy of John Rodgers to Paul Hamilton, 14 Jan. 1813 (2 pp.), which covered a package containing two muster books of the British vessels Moselle and Sappho, found on board the British packet Swallow. Rodgers sent these to Hamilton to prove that the British had been detaining American citizens on board their ships of war, despite their assertions to the contrary.

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