James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Stephen Cathalan, Jr., 28 March 1804 (Abstract)

§ From Stephen Cathalan, Jr.

28 March 1804, Marseilles. Received a duplicate of JM’s 9 Apr. 1803 letter1 and his 1 Oct. 1803 circular with a copy of the laws passed at the last session of Congress together with comptroller Gabriel Duvall’s remarks.2 Also received a 12 Dec. 1803 letter from Duvall “with one new Register and the reference to the Secret Marks which I Carefully Keep by myself for the Verification of those that the American Merchant Vessels are now bearer of, according to the Act Concerning the Registering of Ships of the United States.”3 Encloses a dispatch from George Davis at Tunis4 “and an abstract of the agreeable intelligence the Danish Consul in this place has received,5 Viá Genoa and given to me of the gallant and bold” burning of the Philadelphia in Tripoli harbor. As the ship for Bordeaux is on the point of departure, he cannot now remit his report on U.S. vessels entered and cleared in the ports of his district with the account of U.S. seamen in distress whom he has supplied. “Cathcart, now in Leghorn, had desired from me about a month ago, if two Bombards with all the Necessary Ammunitions and some Men fit for that Service Could be procured at Toulon; as the Exportation of any Naval Stores, Ammunitions & Ca. is forbidden by the Laws of France, even in Small quantities and only granted for the Repairs of Foreign Merchant Vessels in the ports of France on the Demand by Writing of their respective Agents, to the Navy office of This Country, I Sent to our Minister Pleny. at Paris Robt. R. Livingston Esqr. a Copy of the Letter of Consul Cathcart on the 13th. ulto. in order he might obtain from the French Ministry the permission necessary.” Has had no answer yet, so he fears “That it Can’t be obtained, in this Circumstance of War with England and That France being in peace with Tripoly They Would not Allow Such an Armament be Purchased and fitted out in her ports against Tripoly.”6 “However, Mr. Cathcart by his Letter of The 9th. inst. insists if this may be effected without the interference of This Government which is impossible, and I believe it will be executed at naples or Leghorn.”

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