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From James Madison to the Senate, 12 March 1812 (Abstract)

§ To the Senate

12 March 1812. Transmits a report of the secretary of state in compliance with the Senate resolution of 10 Mar.1

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 46, Legislative Proceedings, 12A-E3). RC 1 p.; in the hand of Edward Coles, signed by JM. For enclosure, see n. 1.

1On 9 Mar. 1812 James Lloyd of Massachusetts moved that the president lay before the Senate “any information which may be in his possession, and which in his judgment may be communicated without injury to the public interests respecting the names of any and all persons in the United States, who have, in any way or manner whatever, entered into, or most remotely countenanced, the project or the views, for the execution or attainment of which John Henry was, in the year 1809, employed by Sir James Craig, then governor general of the British Provinces in North America, and which have, this day, been communicated to the Senate of the United States” (DNA: RG 59, ML; printed in 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., 166). In a report written by John Graham and dated 12 Mar. 1812 (2 pp.; 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, 3:555), Monroe responded that the State Department was “not in possession of any names of Persons in the United States” who had entered into the project for which John Henry had been employed, “the said John Henry having named no Persons or Person as being concerned in the said Project or views referred to in the Documents laid before Congress on the 9th Instant.”

In the week following JM’s 9 Mar. message, the House committee on foreign relations also conducted an investigation into the Henry affair, submitting a report of its findings on 19 Mar. 1812. The report revealed that the committee had examined the originals of the documents Henry sold to the administration and was satisfied that they were genuine. The committee also confessed that it had neither the authority nor the evidence to proceed against either Henry himself or “any individuals within the United States (should there be any such) who were criminally connected with him.” The committee was convinced, however, that the “British Government, at a period of peace, and during the most friendly professions, have been deliberately and perfidiously pursuing measures to divide these States, and to involve our citizens in all the guilt of treason, and the horrors of a civil war.” The remainder of the report consisted of transcripts of testimony given by Eduoard de Crillon to the committee on 13 and 14 Mar. 1812 describing his dealings with Henry from September 1811 through February 1812. Crillon also confirmed that Henry had not mentioned to him the names of any persons with whom he had conferred during his 1809 mission to New England (printed ibid., 3:555–57).

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