James Madison Papers

From James Madison to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, 12 February 1802

To the Speaker of the House of Representatives

Department of State, 12th February 1802.


I have the honor to enclose my report upon the Memorial and Petition of Adam Tunno and others, referred to me by an order of the House of Representatives on the 3d Instant.1 With great respect I have the honor to be, Sir, your most Obt Sert.

James Madison


The Secretary of State to whom was referred, by an order of the House of Representatives of the 3d of this Month the memorial and petition of Adam Tunno and others, relative to the capture and condemnation of the Ship South Carolina and her cargo, to consider and report thereon, has considered the same and thereupon reports, as follows:

That the 7th Article of the additional ordinance of the King of Spain, dated at Aranjuez on the 21st. May 1799, for encouraging privateering, which provides, that “every recaptured neutral vessel should remain to the profit of the captors,” appears to be the edict complained of by the memor[i]alists: that in consequence of the remonstrances of the American Minister, the word neutral was, on the 13th. of November of the same year, ordered by his Catholic Majesty to be expunged from the article, the effect of which is supposed by the Minister to be equivalent to an exemption of neutral vessels from its operation; that the Minister has made repeated remonstrances to the Spanish Government respecting the case of the Memor[i]alists vessel and cargo, one of the grounds of the condemnation of which at Majorca on the 5th of Sept. 1800 was the Article of the ordinance above recited: that on the 18th Jany. 1801 the Minister of State of His Catholic Majesty officially informed the Minister of the United States that His Catholic Majesty “had resolved that the Council of War to whom the cognizance of such subjects belongs, should examine and ascertain the facts (respecting the case of the memor[i]alists) and advise his Majesty as justice should require”: that the Secretary has no information of the decision of the Council; but, when made, if the nature of it should so require, it will be included in the negotiations now depending between the two Governments, respecting american captured property.

All which is respectfully submitted.

James Madison

Department of State

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