James Madison Papers

From James Madison to the Marqués de Someruelos, 26 August 1801

To the Marqués de Someruelos

Department of State Washington
August 26th. 1801


It has been represented to the American Government that the Schooner Nancy, laden with a valuable cargo, both belonging to citizens of the United States residing at Charleston, and bound from that port to Havana, was captured, about the 28th. day of June 1800, within sight of the City of Matanzas and within the protecting limits of the Island, by a privateer called La Fortunée bearing a French commission issued at Guadeloupe; but owned by a Spanish subject residing at Cuba. It is added that your Excellency was pleased to order that the vessel and cargo should be sold and the money kept in deposit, to answer the demands of justice. In a case, which, if correctly stated, affects so deeply the rights and interests of American citizens, and which, if it were possible that it could remain unredressed, would derogate from the honor, the impartiality and the amicable disposition of Spain towards the United States, I am happy to have it in my power to appeal to that elevated sense of justice which distinguishes your Excellency, in favor of the injured parties: and I doubt not, that when you shall have carefully examined the circumstances of their complaint, you will hasten to restore to them the remains of a property apparently so unjustly wrested from them, and which could only have been thus long detained thro’ the misrepresentations of the persons concerned in the privateer.1

On this occasion permit me to assure your Excellency of the pleasure I shall ever receive in witnessing the reciprocation of acts of justice and good understanding between the United States and the Spanish Nation: and I request you to receive a tender of the high consideration, with which, I have the honor to be, Your Excellency’s Most obedt. servt.

James Madison

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