James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Benjamin Fry (Abstract), 5 February 1805

§ From Benjamin Fry

5 February 1805, Newport. “Agreable to your Instructions to me April the 20h 18021 I forwarded my Papers to Mr. Livingston at Paris, for Recovery of Payment for my Brig, Favorite & her Cargo, which was Captured by a French Privateer & carried into Gaudeloupe and condemned in December 1800 after the convention with France was signed in 1800 providing for restitution, and agreable to your Observations in yours of the 1 Jany. 1802 [not found] comes within the Clause of that Convention & that the 4 Article of the same designates the Kind of Proof necessary to procure Restitution of such Claims.2

“On deliviring your intraductory Letter to Mr. Livingston and Acquainted him with my buisness; was informed that he had Appointed Fulwar Skipwith Esqr. Agent to transact the buisness of such Claims, and directed me to apply to him with my papers, I then delivered Mr. Skipwith my papers & he Applied to the Minister of Marine in Paris who informd. him (Mr. Skipwith) that an Order from him (the Minister of Marine) must be sent Out to Guadeloupe to the Council of Prises for a Copy of their proceeding against the Favorite to be forwarded by them to the Council of Prises at Paris, before any determination cold. be had on my Claim, altho I had furnished every proof required by the fourth Article of the Treaty of the 30 Septr. 1800 and that he the Minister of Marine would forward his Order immediately to Gaudeloupe for that purpose, in consequence of this unexpectd delay I gave Mr. Skipwith my Power of Attory to act for me, & left my buisness with him, and by sundry Letters Recd. from him since my return home am informed, the order from the Minister of Marine had been sent to Guadeloupe And that the Copy of Proceedings had not been forwarded at the last date of his Letters to me, which are of the 30 Jany. & 24 July 1804. Copy’s which I have Taken the liberty to forward for your Inspection,3 and ask the favor of you Sir what is best for me to do, as relates to my claim’s being admitted to share in purchase Louisiana, haveing my self beleived my Claim to be one of those Embraced in the Convenition for the purch. of Louisania, I so stated to Mr. Skipwith, in his last Letter to me of July 24. 1804 he says the Favorite’s being Captured since the Epoch of the 30 September 1800 is not embraced in the convention for the purchase of Louisania.” Relies on JM’s advice as to how he is to proceed.

Tr and Trs of enclosures (DLC: Causten-Pickett Papers, box 47, folder “Favorite”); draft (RPB-JH). RC 2 pp.

1PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (9 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 3:147.

2In 1827 Fry’s claim for the Favorite, Benjamin Seabury master, captured by the French privateer, General Dugommier, amounted to $32,160.13, which included the value of the ship and cargo, interest from December 1800, attorney’s fees, and Fry’s “time and expenses at and from Paris, in 1802” (ASP, Foreign Relations, 6:540). In the draft Fry added several sentences stating that the Favorite carried no contraband, was captured on 19 Dec. 1800, and condemned on 21 Dec. 1800. For Article 4 of the Convention of 1800 between France and the United States decreeing that ships captured before the exchange of ratifications, which occurred on 31 July 1801, would be returned, see Miller, Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America (8 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1930–48). description ends , 2:457, 459–62.

3Fry enclosed copies (3 pp.) of Fulwar Skipwith to Fry, 30 Jan. 1804, saying that the situation of Fry’s case had not changed and that he planned to apply to the French government to set a time limit for all such cases, after which the Council of Prizes would be required to pass judgment on them even if the relevant papers had not been received from the colonies and the captors had not come forward; and Skipwith to Fry, 24 July 1804, saying that he regretted having to report that the papers in the case of the Favorite had not been received from Guadeloupe and that the Council of Prizes had refused to make decisions without them, adding that the Claims Convention of the Louisiana Purchase did not apply to the Favorite which, the papers he had in Paris indicated, had been captured after 30 Sept. 1800. For Article 1 of the 30 Apr. 1803 Claims Convention restricting payment under that agreement to claims contracted before 30 Sept. 1800, see Miller, Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America (8 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1930–48). description ends , 2:517.

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