James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James Sheafe, 8 December 1804 (Abstract)

§ From James Sheafe

8 December 1804, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “I received some time ago the enclosed representation to the Minister of the U. S. then at Paris.1 I was personally acquainted in France with the late consul of the U. S. at Nantes Thomas Dobrée2 and with his son the present Thomas Dobrée a very respectable Merchant in that city and in my opinion a very suitable person for a commercial Agent there when either from resignation or absence it may be necessary to make a new appointment—it is not intended to suggest any thing unfavorable to the present com. A of U.S. for Nantes but only that the enclosed representation may be considered in case of vacancy.

“Your very obliging attention to my claims on the French Republic on my application to you in Washington & since3 encourages me now to take the liberty to send this representation direct to you having no doubt such use will be made of it when necessary as may be proper. It was sent me under the expectation that I was a member of the Senate of U. S.—my resignation not being known to Mr. Dobrée.”

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–9, filed under “Dobree”). RC 2 pp.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Sheafe; docketed by Jefferson. For enclosure, see n. 1.

1The enclosure (2 pp.) is an undated petition to Robert R. Livingston from six ship captains and a supercargo at Nantes asking that Thomas Dobrée, son of the late consul there, be given the post in preference to Simon A. Lynch, whose “Affairs are somewhat deranged” and who had not appeared “for some time since at the Exchange.” Jefferson appointee William Patterson had named Lynch as deputy consul during Patterson’s absence from the post (Lynch to JM, 1 May 1804, PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 7:126).

2The deceased consul was Pierre-Frédéric Dobrée (ibid., 2:19 n., 211).

3For Sheafe’s claims against France, see JM’s letters to Sheafe and to Robert R. Livingston of 27 Jan. 1802, Sheafe to JM, 13 Jan. 1804, and JM to Sheafe, 8 Feb. 1804, ibid., 2:424–25 and n. 1, 426, 6:344–45, and 460.

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