James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Joseph S. Ayers, 27 November 1804 (Abstract)

§ From Joseph S. Ayers

27 November 1804, Portsmouth. “You will, I doubt not, have the goodness to excuse the trouble caused by soliciting your attention to the inclosed papers1. Goverment, we are fully persuaded, is solicitous to guard and secure to the Citizens, their rights & their property. It’s knowledge of the violation of these is generally derived from the information or complaint of the sufferers. We are in reality such; and comparatively speaking, in a considerable degree. Those who did the injury appeared to be sensible of our right to compensation but after an offer quite inadequate, they probably hoped we should sit down with the Loss, in consideration of the expence of a legal pursuit. And this must indeed be the case, unless the wisdom and energy of the Government can point out, or in some way effect that relief which we, as Individuals, cannot obtain for ourselves.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 76, Preliminary Inventory 177, entry 180, Great Britain, Treaty of 1794 [Art. VII], British Spoliations, 1794–1824, Unsorted Papers, box 8, folder 3b). RC 1 p.; signed by Ayers for himself and Jonathan Ayers; docketed by Wagner, with his notation: “British Sch’r Dolphin (Tripe).” For enclosures, see n. 1.

1The enclosures are Portsmouth, New Hampshire, notary public Daniel Humphreys’s 10 Oct. 1804 certification (1 p.) of the authenticity of the declaration of Richard Tripe, master of the schooner Dolphin; Tripe’s 10 Oct. declaration of the capture and detention of the Dolphin (1 p.); a copy of the 15 Aug. 1804 protest (3 pp.) of Tripe, mate Joseph Averell, and seaman David Ran before notary public William Gordon of Tortola with Humphreys’s 28 Nov. 1804 certification of its accuracy (1 p.); and the 27 Nov. 1804 statement of Joseph Ayers (1 p.; certified by Humphreys) of the losses he and his co-owner suffered from the detention of their vessel. The Dolphin left Portsmouth on 30 May 1804 for Martinique, departed Martinique on 4 Aug. 1804, was captured on 7 Aug. by the British privateer Commodore, Joseph Jackson master, and was carried into Tortola and detained until 14 Aug. 1804. The agent for the owners of the Commodore offered Tripe a sum in full compensation for the delay, but Tripe refused it as inadequate. Joseph Ayers stated that the ship’s voyage had been lengthened ten days by its being captured and carried off course, and he demanded, in addition to demurrage for the delay, the amount that the price of the cargo of molasses had lost between the ship’s estimated and actual arrival times.

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