James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Ira Allen, 26 January 1805 (Abstract)

§ From Ira Allen

26 January 1805, Philadelphia. “I inclose to you a Copy of my Representation to the Legislature of Vermont which was Read in Counsil and Assembly1 & a Statement of facts and Resolutions Drawn Copied and Distributed for the Consideration of the Members of the Legislature (which are also Inclosed)2 when it was thought advisable to omit any further Proseedings thereon Untill the Next session of the Legislature for the following Reasons Viz the object being to obtain a Redress of Injuries which might Probably be Effected by inclosing the Proseedings as you had been furnished with the first & Second Vollum of the olive Branch and Copies of my Letters to Mr. Monroe Messers Erskin Nicholl Arrnold & Slade in London Dated the 28th. of Augt. Last3 and Should Justice Still be Delayed it would be Necessary that the second Vollum of the olive Branch be compleated and Put in Circulation through the United States and in Particular that some of the Books Should be forwarded to the Several States before or with the Communications aforesaid that the Cause should be fully Understood that the State Governments and General Government of the United States might take Proper measures to Protect the flagg of the United States the Dignaty of it’s Government & Rights of Individuals gaurantieed by the Laws of Nations and in Particular by the Treaty Between Great Britain and the United States in 1794.”

RC and first enclosure (DNA: RG 76, Preliminary Inventory 177, entry 197, Great Britain, Convention of February 8, 1853, Case Files of Claims of U.S. Citizens, 1853–55, box 5); FC and FC of enclosures (PHi); Tr and Tr of enclosures (DNA: RG 46, Petitions and Memorials, 8A-G1). RC 1 p. For enclosures, see nn. 1–2.

1In the enclosed “Representation … Read in Council and Assembly in Oct. 1804,” 18 Oct. 1804 (4 pp.), Allen gives a brief history of his mission to buy arms for the Vermont militia and their subsequent capture by a British privateer, adding that the British courts decided in his favor but burdened him with the captors’ costs and that he then had the weapons sold by Bird, Savage, and Bird, who went bankrupt before transmitting the money. He asked the legislature to support him and to enlist the support of all other state legislatures and of the federal government in his claim. Allen also enclosed an “Introduction on Spetial [sic] Emergency” (3 pp.), part of which was printed in the introduction to volume 2 of Particulars of the Capture of the Ship Olive Branch (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 7852), that described some later developments in his case.

2Allen enclosed his “Statement of facts & Resolutions for the Consideration of the Legislature” (7 pp.), which gives a more detailed history of his case and ends with resolutions that he suggests the legislature pass, protesting Admiralty orders, demanding an equivalent supply of weapons from the British government, and requesting the governor of Vermont to send a circular letter to the governors of all the other states asking their support in the quest for justice.

3For the book on Allen’s case and his letters to Monroe and the others, see Allen to JM, 20 Oct. 1804, and nn. 1–3.

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