James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Alexander J. Dallas, 15 June 1802

To Alexander J. Dallas

Department of State June 15. 1802.


Mr. Olsen the Danish Minister Resident has complained of Captn. Maley in capturing a Danish vessel the Mercator, which was afterwards lost by capture, whilst under the American Flag, by a British Armed vessel, and condemnation in a British Court of Admiralty.1 He has represented also, in behalf of the Danish owner, that Captn. Maley is both absent from the United States and in a state of insolvency; and requests that the proper mode of redress may be pointed out.

He was informed that notwithstanding the absence of Captn. Maley a judicial investigation of the case could be effected thro’ an attorney of the United States, and that the necessary steps would be taken as soon as he should signify the District preferred by him.

I have just received an answer from him,2 requiring that the judicial proceedings may be had in Philadelphia.

You will please therefore, Sir, to concur in instituting the proper proceedings, by appearing in behalf of Captn. Maley; in whose defence the United States are interested.

I inclose for your information on the subject the protest of the second Lieutenant under Captn. Maley, who was prize master of the Mercator, and of another person belonging to the Experiment; and also the decree of the British Court of Vice Admiralty which condemned the Mercator.3 These are the only documents which I am able to forward for the purpose. I am very respectfully &ca.

James Madison.

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