Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to the Senate and the House of Representatives, 23 February 1803

To the Senate and the House of Representatives

Gentlemen of the Senate and
of the House of Representatives

I lay before you a report of the Secretary of state on the case of the Danish brigantine Henrich, taken by a French privateer in 1799. retaken by an armed vessel of the US. carried into a British island, and there adjudged to be neutral, but under allowance of such salvage and costs as absorbed nearly the whole amount of sales of the vessel & cargo. indemnification for these losses occasioned by our officers is now claimed by the sufferers, supported by the representations of their government. I have no doubt the legislature will give to the subject that just attention and consideration which it is useful as well as honourable to practise in our transactions with other nations, and particularly with one which has observed towards us the most friendly treatment and regard.

Th: Jefferson
Feb. 23. 1803.

RC (DNA: RG 46, LPPM, 7th Cong., 2d sess.); endorsed by a clerk. PrC (DLC). RC (DNA: RG 233, PM, 7th Cong., 2d sess.); endorsed by a clerk.

attention and consideration: Meriwether Lewis delivered the message and the accompanying documents to the House and the Senate on 23 Feb., but each chamber was busy with other matters and put off formally receiving the papers until the 24th. On 1 Mch., the House passed a bill from the Committee of Claims “to enable the President of the United States to make restitution” to the Hendrick’s owners. The session ended before the Senate voted on the bill. The House of Representatives took up the matter again in the next Congress, again without ultimate success. The Hendrick claim remained unresolved (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:363, 374, 377–8; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820-21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:271, 281, 285; 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–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols. Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols. Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 1:296n; 4:338n; 6:245).

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