James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Jacob Wagner, 7 September 1801

From Jacob Wagner

Department of State: Washington,
7 Septr. 1801.

Dear sir

I have been honored with your favor by the last mail, with the several papers referred to, and some patents &c. from the President. I have very little to communicate at present. Of most importance are the letters from Mr. Gavino,1 mentioning the arrival of our squadron in the Mediterranean, and two naval combats between the French, Spaniards and British. The letters from Mr. Eaton are accompanied by a copy of his charter-party of the Ann Maria.2 It is of a singular texture. I hope we shall not be obliged also to pay the ransom of the Grandaughter of the Sicilian Count, the history of whom is given in his letter of the 20th. Decr. any more than the sum paid in the political speculation of the Gloria, mentioned in the same letter. These transactions may manifest the acuteness or the gallantry of the Gentleman concerned in them; but the points of connection which they have with the public interests should be clearly exhibited, before they are saddled with the cost. The Ann Maria was at Marseilles on the 14 June, whence she was to sail in ten days for New York.

I have been under the necessity of writing to the Collector of New York to advertise the Ragusan Brig for freight until the first 30 lay days are out, and, if none offers, to allow her to return. Permit me to refer you to his two letters enclosed.3

The letter from Mr. Pichon4 heightens the mystery of the suspension of the Treaty. You will have observed the care taken by Mr. Dawson to notify the French Government of the sailing of the Maryland; neverth’ess this letter is of so old a date as the 14th. June. Mr. Murray’s last letter is of the 9 July. Mr. Pichon assigned several inadequate reasons for the demur; such as the dissipation of Joseph Bonaparte, the ignorance of the whole commission &c.

Mr. Ingersoll’s account requires your approbation.5 For my own part, altho’ I think the charge is too high for his services in Duane’s case, yet I do not know how to overrule Mr. Dallas’ official certificate of its being reasonable.

I have not fully considered the application of Genl. Lloyd for the cancelling of his contract.6 He was here last fall, as he states, but I never till lately heard of his desire to be absolved from his contract. It is certain that it never was actually cancelled. Whether it ought to be, will depend upon the solution of the question, whether the U. states have been injured by the delay in making remittances to Algiers, since May last. After we hear from Capt. Dale respecting our affairs there, we shall be best able to judge. At present I think the delay a benefit. The articles stipulated for by General Lloyd were so cumbrous, that they do not constitute a good means of remittance, whilst freight is so high. Before May next, when the last delivery was to take place, the pecuniary commutation may be accepted.

I must beg the favour of your signing a few more blank certificates, which I have enclosed; and to believe that I am with the greatest respect, Dear sir, your most obed. servt.

Jacob Wagner

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