James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Perez Morton, 20 December 1803 (Abstract)

§ From Perez Morton

20 December 1803, Washington. “I have just received from Boston a Statement of the Case of the Ship Nancy, owned by Messrs Nathaniel Fellowes and Samuel Brown, on the subject of which I sometime since had the honor to converse with you: the circumstances attending her Capture, and the subsequent proceedings, are so minutely detailed in the statement made by Messrs Fellowes & Brown, & which accompanies the Case, that it is unnecessary for me to add any thing to their State of Facts;1 There are however, in Mr Brown’s Letter to me several circumstances alluded to, some founded in facts proved, and others in probable conjecture, which in my mind may materially affect the case, especially that, which impeaches the impartiality of Judge Scott; I have therefore enclosed that Letter for your perusal to be made such use of as may be thought expedient.

“Permit me, Sir, in behalf of the Owners, earnestly to solicit the attention of the Executive to a case, so peculiarly unjust and injurious, and to hope, that the American Government will, so far as may comport with the national policy, and the Peace of our common Country, direct such representations to be made to the Court of St James thro’ our Minister there, as may have a tendency to induce a revision of this Case, and a restoration of the Owners’ property, or that by some general arrangement between the two Governments, some provision may be made for remuneration to our Citizens, in Cases, where their property has been condemned in the last resort of their Admiralty, in contravention of the known Laws of Nations, and in violation of the rights of unoffending Neutrality.”

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