James Madison Papers
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https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Madison/03-08-02-0095

Thomas H. Cushing to John Armstrong, 8 August 1814

Thomas H. Cushing to John Armstrong

Military District No. 2. Head Quarters New London
8th. August 1814.

Sir

I have the honor to enclose copies of a letter from commodore Hotham of the 7th. instant, & my reply of the same date.1

It is presumed that Mr. Stewarts history, and the time and manner of his leaving this country are well known at Washington. His family resides in this town on a valuable real estate held in his name, and is in possession of considerable personal property which, it is understood, he wishes to remove with it.

Should permission be granted for the removal of the family, I have to request precise directions as to the personal estate.2

During my command, frequent applications have been made for Flags of truce to visit the british ships in the offing, for the purpose of Ransoming vessels, and for other private concerns; but I have not granted a flag in any instance, save one, and that at the request of Governor Smith, to obtain permission for a Raft of timber to pass from Say Brook to New Haven, for the purpose of building a Church. Is it proper for me to grant a flag for any private purpose?

It was said yesterday that the Enemy’s force off this harbour had been augmented to ten Sail, and it is certain that a new commander (Hotham) has arrived, but whether to relieve and send away other Ships or not, is uncertain, and the weather to day is so unfavourable and stormy, that nothing can go out, and the Enemy cannot be seen from the Shore. I am Sir, very Respectfully your obedient Servant

T. H. Cushing
Brigr. Genl.

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, C-58:8). RC in a clerk’s hand, signed by Cushing. Docketed as received in the War Department in August 1814, with a note in an unidentified hand: “Sent to the President for his directions in the case.” For enclosures, see n. 1.

1In his 7 Aug. 1814 letter to Cushing (1 p.), Henry Hotham, commander of the British fleet off New London, stated that he had granted a flag to James Stewart, “late His Majesty’s Consul” at that town, to return there and request permission to remove his family to British territory. Cushing replied (1 p.) that he could not allow Stewart’s family to leave but would submit the case to the U.S. government. For the circumstances of Stewart’s departure from New London, see Robert Fairchild to JM, 3 Jan. 1814, PJM-PS, description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (8 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends 7:162–64 and nn. 1–2, 165 n. 3.

2Armstrong informed Cushing on 17 Aug. 1814 that Stewart’s wife should be permitted to join him, if Cushing believed that “no injury could result from the measure,” and that “legal considerations must decide” the question of “the removal of property, other than what belonged to her person.” He added that Mrs. Stewart should not be allowed to leave New London until the British stopped using “threats & violence … to extort it” (DNA: RG 107, LSMA).

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