James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George W. Erving, 1 September 1804 (Abstract)

§ From George W. Erving

1 September 1804, London. No. 41. “I have the honor herewith to transmit a complete report of my transactions as Agent for the relief & protection of seamen from the 11th. of March 1803 when the impressments began here previous to the declaration of the present War between Great Britain & France, up to this date;1 a Period of about 18 Months. I have endeavoured to make this document as exact as the nature of the business will allow, and have annexed to it a summary in which you will observe at one view how far my applications to this Government for the Discharge of our men have succeeded; and in Cases where they have failed the several Causes of detention.”

RC (DNA: RG 59, CD, London, vol. 9). 2 pp.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Erving. For enclosure, see n. 1.

1The original copy of Erving’s report has not been found, but for a transcript of the copy included in JM’s message to Congress, 19 Jan. 1805, see “Statement of Applications made … in 1538 cases of Impressed Seamen…,” 31 Aug. 1804 (50 pp.; DNA: RG 233, Transcribed Reports and Communications from the Secretary of State, 5C-B1, 3:239–59). The report contains an alphabetical index of names; a summary noting that of the 1,538 applications, 1,232 were original and 306 were duplicates and enumerating the outcomes of the applications; and a printed list of the names of 1,538 seamen with the dates and places of their impressments, the dates of the applications made for their release, their hometowns and states, the ships from which they were taken with the masters’ names, the ships into which they were taken, the evidence of their citizenship, and the results of the applications with other remarks (printed in Letter from the Secretary of State Relative to Impressed Seamen [Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 9545]).

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