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From James Madison to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, 27 January 1803 (Abstract)

§ To the Speaker of the House of Representatives

27 January 1803, Department of State. Has examined the petition [not found] of John Burnham of Wethersfield, Connecticut, for relief of losses and injuries sustained while in captivity in Algiers, which was referred to JM on 12 Feb. 1802 by the House of Representatives.1 As a result of the secretary of state’s 25 Apr. 1796 report dealing with Charles Colville’s petition, an act of 30 May 1796 appropriated $4,539.06 to be divided equally between Burnham and Colville as reimbursement for their ransoms.2 The secretary later calculated the true average cost of redeeming U.S. citizens from Algiers as $2,396.25. This sum appears to have been allowed to subsequent applicants. Since the grant made to Burnham “appears to have been founded on an imperfect calculation,” he is entitled to a further payment of $126.72.

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