James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 31 January 1805 (Abstract)

§ To Thomas Jefferson

31 January 1805, Department of State. “The Secretary of State, to whom the President of the United States has been pleased to refer the Resolution of the Senate of the 28th. instant,1 requesting that there may be laid before the Senate such documents and papers, or other information, as the President should judge proper relative to complaints against arming the Merchant Ships or Vessels of the United States; or the conduct of the Captains and Crews of such as have been armed, has the honor to annex hereto:

“1st. A copy of a letter addressed to the Secretary of State by the Envoy of Great Britain, Dated on the 31st. of August last.2

“2nd. An extract of a letter to the same, from the late Charge d’ Affaires of France Dated 6th. May last,3 which was preceded and followed by other letters and conversations of the same Gentleman, urging the subject upon the attention of the Government. It has been also urged, by the present Minister of France, in his interviews with the Secretary of State.

“Of the instances4 alluded to in the aforesaid letter and extract, the only authenticated statement, relative to the conduct of American Private armed Vessels, which has been received at this Department is contained in the annexed letter from Mr. George Barnwall of New York and the document accompanying it.”5

RC and enclosures (DLC: Jefferson Papers); RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 46, President’s Messages, 8A–E3); letterbook copy (DNA: RG 59, DL, vol. 14). RCs in a clerk’s hand, signed by JM. Second RC misdated 21 Jan. 1805; enclosed in Jefferson to the Senate, 31 Jan. 1805. For enclosures, see nn. 2–3 and 5.

1On 28 Jan. 1805 the Senate addressed a resolution to Jefferson requesting information “relative to complaints against arming the merchant ships of the United States” (DNA: RG 59, ML).

2The first enclosure is a copy of Anthony Merry to JM, 31 Aug. 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 , 7:662–63).

3The second enclosure is a translated extract from Louis-André Pichon to JM, 7 May 1804 (ibid., 7:185–87).

4In place of “instances,” the second RC reads “inclosures.”

5JM enclosed a copy of George Barnewall’s letter to him, 6 Sept. 1804, with its enclosure.

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