From James Madison
Washington May 11. 1802
I have nothing new since my last either from Europe or the W. Indies. The elections in N. York are not yet finally known. It is suggested that the efforts of the minority have prevailed beyond the apprehensions of the majority. Cabot accepts his mission on the terms proposed to him. I have just recd. letters from Erving shewing the turn which the affair took in London, to be such as was conjectured. The compatibility of his Agency with an Assessorship was denied by the Commissioners & made the ground of rejecting him. The Controversy ended in his relinquishing his pretensions, & of course he is prepared for the ground on which we have placed him. He is evidently soured with King & the Board, but professes a superiority to all personal considerations when in the way of his public duty. I inclose a solicitation for office according to the wish of the candidate. I inclose also a letter from S. Sayre which will deserve no other attention than as it brings to view the necessity of thinking of proper persons for the service he recommends himself for. I am at a loss for proper characters myself, & I do not find that any are particularly in the view of those more capable of pointing them out. My horses are not yet arrived.
Yrs. always most respectfully & affectionately.
Yrujo has just delivered me a long narrative of a riot in Philada. which ended in an insulting destruction of a Spanish flag in the harbour, for which he claims due reparation to the honor of his Master. He suggests that a reward be proclaimed for the apprehension of the offenders, which of itself will heal the wound, if the offenders cannot be traced. I shall consult Mr. Lincoln in the case. My first thought is that a letter be written to Govr. McKean, on the idea of its not being within federal cognizance.
RC (DLC); at head of text: “private”; endorsed by TJ as received from the State Department on 13 May and “Cabot. Erving. Sayre. Yrujo” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Stephen Sayre to Madison, Philadelphia, 5 May 1802, writing to save him the expense of making a request in person, asking if he may expect an appointment in TJ’s administration, and suggesting that he is the best person to settle the boundary “in upper Canada, between the United States & the British Government” (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; endorsed by TJ: “for Office”). For other enclosure, see below.
Madison had informed Samuel CABOT that TJ would reappoint him as assessor for the commissioners arbitrating claims under Article 7 of the treaty with Great Britain, but since George W. ERVING would be the agent for claims, Cabot’s annual compensation would be $1,500 rather than the $2,500 he had received previously. Cabot, writing from Boston on 1 May, complained about the salary cut but accepted the terms (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 32 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 8 vols. Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols. Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 3:153–4, 178–9).
Erving had written Madison two lengthy letters on 6 Mch. 1802 detailing the commission’s refusal to allow him to serve as assessor. He believed that the American commissioners, Christopher Gore and William Pinkney, blocked him because they were Federalists, and that Rufus KING had done nothing to stop them (same, 6–9).
SOLICITATION FOR OFFICE: perhaps John Webb’s letter to Madison of 30 Apr., requesting an appointment as bankruptcy commissioner at Charleston, South Carolina. Webb enclosed a copy of a letter he had written to Senator John Ewing Colhoun two days earlier. Fearing that Colhoun had left Washington, Webb requested that Madison submit the letter and a certificate to the president. In the certificate, dated 28 Apr., Thomas Bee, Theodore Gaillard, Daniel D’Oyley, and four others testified that the Charleston merchant was competent to perform the duties of the office “in which Capacity he now acts & has acted since the operation of the Bankrupt Laws.” Webb was previously appointed by Judge Bee (RC and enclosures in DNA: RG 59, LAR, endorsed by TJ: “Webb John to mr Madison to be Commr. bkrptcy Charleston S.C.”; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 32 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 8 vols. Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols. Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 3:169). Uncertain if Madison had received his letter, Webb again wrote the secretary of state on 4 June and enclosed a 27 May letter from Colhoun, who noted that he would have supported Webb’s application in Washington if it had arrived before he left the city. Webb also enclosed the original 28 Apr. certificate (RC and enclosures in DNA: RG 59, LAR; endorsed by TJ: “John Webb to be Commr. bkrptcy Charleston”). TJ entered Webb’s name on his list of candidates for bankruptcy commissioner, but then canceled it, noting “qu. politics?” (see Appendix II, List 1).
In his LONG NARRATIVE to Madison, Carlos Martínez de Irujo protested the lowering and shredding of the Spanish brig’s FLAG, an outcome of the riot that had previously been reported to TJ by a pseudonymous writer (“Yankey Doodle” to TJ, 14 Apr.). While waiting for a legal opinion from Levi Lincoln, who on 12 May concurred in Madison’s view that the case did not fall under federal jurisdiction, Madison wrote Thomas McKean, requesting that the governor ensure a full investigation, and asked U.S. attorney Alexander J. Dallas to assist the Pennsylvania authorities. He also wrote Irujo, to assure him that an investigation would proceed. McKean informed Madison in August that the investigation had been concluded near the end of July. After making restitution, the guilty parties were granted a nolle prosequi by the state attorney general, a resolution that seems to have satisfied Irujo (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 32 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 8 vols. Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols. Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 3:180–82, 214, 216–17, 217–19, 493; Madison to TJ, [29 Aug. 1802]).