James Madison Papers
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From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, [21 February] 1803

To Thomas Jefferson

[21 February 1803]

The inclosed report1 as altered is acquiesced in by Mr. L.2 In two instances recurred to Congs have already interposed; one of them the Paoli at last Session. The judgmt. of the Court agst Capt. Maley was pd. by Congs.3 Several Dutch & British precedts. can also be cited. The 7 Art: of the British Treaty4 & 21 of the Span:5 go on the responsibility of those Govts. for irregular acts of the Officers under their authy or colour of it. Our instructions relative to Spanish Spoliations have the same implication. If the principle be tenable, it is evidently & greatly in favor of the U. S. in a general view. Two correct copies will be sent to the P. in the morning. The present one is sent that if approved, he may accomodate his message to it without further delay.6

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