James Madison Papers

From James Madison to the House of Representatives, 19 January 1805

To the Speaker of the House of Representatives

Department of State, January 19th 1805.

In obedience to an order of the House of Representatives, of the 31st December 1804, directing the Secretary of State to lay before that House “a return of the number of American seamen, who have been impressed or detained on Board the Ships of War of any foreign nation, stating the names of the persons impressed; the name of the Ship or vessel by which they were impressed, the nation to which she belonged, and the time of the Impressment, so far as may be practicable; together with any facts and Circumstances relating to the same which may have been reported to him,”1 the subjoined statements are transmitted:

1st. An abstract, commencing with the present war, and containing all the particulars required by the foregoing Resolution, in Cases wherein application has been made by the Parties immediately to the Department of State, or wherein those particulars have been detailed in protests transmitted to the same Department by the Collectors of the Customs:2

2dly. A Statement of applications made to the British Government in 1538 Cases of Impressed Seamen, Claiming to be Citizens of the United States, from 11th March 1803 to 31st August 1804, by George W Erving, Agent of the United States for the Relief and Protection of their seamen at London:3

3dly. Copies of Abstracts respecting impressed Seamen which have been reported to the same Department by Wm Savage, the Agent of the United States at Jamaica.4

All which is respectfully submitted.

James Madison

RC and first and third enclosures (DNA: RG 233, Reports and Communications from the Secretary of State, 8A-E1); Tr and Tr of enclosures (DNA: RG 233, Transcribed Reports and Communications from the Secretary of State, 5C-B1, 3:231–64). RC in a clerk’s hand, signed by JM. Enclosures 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). For enclosures, see nn. 2–4.

1The 31 Dec. 1804 resolution was transmitted to JM by acting clerk William Lambert (1 p.; docketed by Wagner; DNA: RG 59, ML; printed in Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1834–56). description ends , 8th Cong., 2d sess., 867).

2The first enclosure (7 pp.) is a list of 204 men impressed between 30 Jan. 1803 and 14 Oct. 1804 together with the names of the British ships into which they were taken.

3The second enclosure is a copy of George W. Erving’s 31 Aug. 1804 “Statement of Applications made to the British Government in 1538 cases of Impressed Seamen claiming To be Citizens of the United States, From 11th. March, 1803, to 31st. August, 1804,” which was enclosed in Erving’s public letter to JM, 1 Sept. 1804.

4The third enclosure (4 pp.) is a copy of a 19 Oct. 1804 list of seventy-two men on British ships at Jamaica, which was probably enclosed in William Savage to JM, 19 Oct. 1804.

Index Entries