James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Manning, 11 September 1804 (Abstract)

§ From Thomas Manning

11 September 1804, Portsmouth. “Permit me to lay before you the accompanying affidavits.1 They might have been more particular, and I believe are free of colouring and exaggeration. The captor therein mentioned was told by the Master of my Brig, that the treatment he had met with, he would lay before his Government, on his return to the United States. I feel my own loss, and for the mortification he suffered, and for the causeless lawless cruelties inflicted on a peaceable native citizen, of good behaviour having a protection. I am persuaded that the Government has a ready ear for the complaints of the Citizens, as to injuries suffered on the seas. I am induced therefore to state the simple facts. I have the fullest confidence in its watchfulness to guard and preserve to the Merchants and Mariners their rights, and in the wisdom of its measures, for redress, protection, safety and prosperity both as to those and all other classes of citizens.”

Adds in a postscript: “I have Capt Kennards protest agreeing with the documents transmitted.”

Tr and Tr of enclosures (DNA: RG 76, Preliminary Inventory 177, entry 180, Great Britain, Treaty of 1794 [Art. VII], British Spoliations, 1794–1824, Unsorted Papers, box 1, folder C). Tr 1 p.; marked “(Copy).” For enclosures, see n. 1.

1The enclosures (9 pp.), numbered 1–5 and dated 4 and 7 Sept. 1804, are the depositions of Thomas Manning, owner of the brig Camillus, Capt. Nathaniel Kennard, mate Nathan Walden, and seamen Thomas Carpenter and George Hobday, sworn to before notary Daniel Humphreys of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. They stated that on the night of 24–25 July 1804, while returning to Boston from Guadeloupe, the Camillus was brought to by the British armed schooner Eclair commanded by a Lieutenant Sutton. Ordered to come to the Eclair in the brig’s boat, Kennard took Carpenter and Hobday with him. The Americans were held on board while a prize master and two British sailors boarded the Camillus. Kennard was returned to his ship after “about fourteen hours,” but Carpenter and Hobday were detained. That evening a French passenger from the Camillus was placed in irons for refusing to “do his duty” on the Eclair, and Carpenter, an American sailor with a protection, was flogged for the same reason. Sutton stated that “there were no protections good for any thing. That he could buy a vessel load of them at Boston for two dollars” and ordered Carpenter enrolled on the books of the Eclair. On the third day, Carpenter was returned to the Camillus, which was released and proceeded to Boston. Manning, Kennard, and Walden further deposed that 15,000 pounds of sugar and 600 gallons of molasses out of the cargo were lost due to the carelessness of the British prize master.

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