James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Turell Tufts (Abstract), 4 May 1805

§ From Turell Tufts

4 May 1805, Paramaribo. “By Captain Connell via New York I inclosed to you a Proclamation of the Governor of Barbados restricting foreign Trade.1 I now inclose the last proclm of this Government.2 You will see by it that, the only articles in the enumerations worthy the attention of the Merchants are Flour, Lumber, & Tobacco. The other articles might as well have been omitted; for, the want of them is so little felt—they never did yield a stiver profit to the Merchants. You will also observe that Lieut: Gov: Hughes—acts in Stead of Govr. Green, who has gone to England. It is said, that the proclamation is now to be Executed with military exactness: the last clause of which Seems to confirm the opinions.

“I am exceedingly anxious to See the last American Vessel depart. (She takes this Letter). The event will be singular—& may produce Singular effects—as the like has not been Seen since 1780. I know the result will be for the benefit of the UStates. Since Fish was prohibited,3 only one Ship has arrived here from Newfoundland.

“I have heard that a motion has been made in Congress—to prevent British Ships carrying from the U.S. to the W. Indies4—Such goods as are prohibited to be carried in Am: Ships. Perhaps it is not generally Known that British Ships are Subjected to the same prohibition as Americans. If retaliatio<n> is intended—British Ships Should be prohibited from carrying to the W Indies from UStates those articles that are permitted to be carried in American Vessels. Not long since, a British Ship or Vessel was fined & condemned5 at Barbados for having on board American Beef & Pork.”

Adds in an 8 May postscript: “To day a Vessell has arrived from Phila. with Flour. The Govr. has issued an order for all Neutral Vessels to Anchor under the Guns of the Fort—& also to the Custom’s Officers to bore every bl of Flour to <preven>t smuggling.”

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, CD, Paramaribo, vol. 1). RC 3 pp.; marked “Public service via NewYork” and postmarked 7 June at New York; docketed by Wagner as received 11 June. Damaged by removal of seal. For enclosure, see n. 2.

1See Tufts to JM, 28 Apr. 1805, and n. 1.

2Tufts enclosed a clipping from the Surinam Gazette, 30 Apr. 1805, of Lt. Gov. William Carlyon Hughes’s 24 Apr. 1805 proclamation (1 p.; in Dutch and English) allowing the importation in “American or any other Neutral Bottoms” of tobacco, lumber, naval supplies, livestock, and foodstuffs, produced in America, for four months from 29 Apr. 1805, and the export of rum and molasses in the same vessels. He imposed a four percent duty on imports and an eight percent duty on exports and decreed that the attempted introduction of any other than the enumerated articles would result in the seizure of the offending vessel and its cargo.

3See Tufts to JM, 29 Dec. 1804, PJM-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 8:427–28.

4Tufts presumably referred to Jacob Crowninshield’s 23 Jan. 1805 resolution that “the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures be instructed to inquire if any, and what, further provision be necessary for the protection of the commerce and seamen of the United States, and to inquire whether any foreign country has made any late regulations with a view to monopolize any branch of the American carrying trade, to the exclusive benefit of such foreign country, or which in their operation may be injurious to the agricultural or commercial interest of the United States; and also to inquire into the expediency of prohibiting the exportation from the United States of all goods and merchandise whatever in foreign ships bound to any port with which the vessels of the United States are not allowed communication, or where a free and unrestricted trade is not permitted in the productions of the United States, and that the committee be authorized to report by bill or otherwise,” which Crowninshield introduced in response to the restrictive edicts of several governors in the British West Indies (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., 1004, 1006–7).

5Tufts placed an asterisk here and wrote at the top of the next page: “*Note. The Custom House officers in Dutch Guaiana & Trinidadd—construe the Law as not extending to Conquered places. It is therefore that B Ships have taken from U.S. most articles & landed them in Conquered places even with permission.”

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