James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Richard Cutts, 19 April 1805

To Richard Cutts

Washington Apl. 19. 1805

Dear Sir

The abuses committed occasionally on our vessels & seamen carried to Antigua, where there is a Vice Admiralty Court said to be little disposed to controul them, makes it desireable that a respectable agent should be appointed for that Island. A Mr. 1 Rose has been recommended for this service; and Mr. Gray of Salem,2 and Mr. Green of Boston3 have been referred to for a sanction to the fitness of his character. Will you be so obliging as to make this enquiry of Mr. Green, and favor me with the result. It is understood that Mr. Rose, who is a resident at Antigua, is a British subject: but he is said to be well disposed to this Country, and I beleive connected with it by commercial partnerships, if not by marriage also. There seems to be no chance of obtaining an American Citizen possessed of all the requisites for the station. And in some cases an upright & influencial subject of the place is able to effect more than a stranger.

We are well except my wife who has some complaints which I hope are slight & going off. We learn with much pleasure that you & Mrs. Cutts continue in good health. Give my love to her.

We have been without news for a long time, owing to the fewness of arrivals from Europe. Mr. Monroe had reached Madrid, but nothing beyond the introductory forms had passed. Beleive me truly & affecly Yours

James Madison

RC (MHi); partial Tr (NjP: Crane Collection).

1Left blank in RC. Joseph Warner Rose was named commercial agent for Antigua in April 1805, but he did not arrive on the island in that role until August 1806. He was married to Harriet Paine, daughter of Massachusetts Loyalist Dr. William Paine (Rose to JM, 15 Nov. 1805 and 20 Aug. 1806 [DNA: RG 59, CD, Antigua, vol. 1]; Ellery Bicknell Crane, ed., Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County Massachusetts [4 vols.; New York, 1907], 1:344, 345).

2JM referred to wealthy Salem, Massachusetts, shipowner and merchant William Gray (1750–1825), who was at this time a Federalist. Gray later favored the embargo and moved to Boston to escape the hostility this raised against him in Salem. He served as state senator in 1807–8 and 1821, and was elected lieutenant governor of Massachusetts on the Republican ticket in 1810 and 1811. He supported JM’s administration during the War of 1812, ran unsuccessfully for office in several other elections, and served as president of the Boston branch of the Bank of the United States (PJM-PS, description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (6 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends 5:636 n. 1).

3Bostonian Charles W. Greene (ca. 1782–1857) was the son of merchant and Loyalist David Greene. His mother was Rebecca Rose Greene, Joseph Warner Rose’s sister. In late 1805 Charles and his brother David I. Greene established a mercantile firm in New York. By 1812 Charles had returned to Boston where he served as Danish consul for the New England states. He and his brother-in-law David Haskins owned a cloth factory during the War of 1812, but Greene failed in business in 1817 and by 1821 was operating a boys’ boarding school in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, which he ran for many years. In 1815, after the War of 1812 ended, Greene wrote James Monroe recommending that his uncle be reappointed as commercial agent (Massachusetts Teacher 11 [1858]: 39–40; Vere Langford Oliver, The History of the Island of Antigua, One of the Leeward Caribbees in the West Indies, from the First Settlement in 1635 to the Present Time [3 vols.; London, 1894–99], 3:52–53; David Greene Haskins Jr., Memoir of Ralph Haskins [Cambridge, Mass., 1881], 9, 11; Boston Repertory, 20 Aug. 1805; Boston New-England Palladium, 11 Aug. 1812; Boston Commercial Gazette, 23 Aug. 1821; DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17, filed under “Rose”; Charles Godfrey Leland, Memoirs [New York, 1893], 51, 53, 58).

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