James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Ralph Porter (Abstract), 7 May 1805

§ From Ralph Porter

7 May 1805, Baltimore. “Inclosed is an Order from the American Consul at Cadiz, for $10: ‘to be paid by the Collector of any of the Custom houses in the U.S.’ to me for the services and reasons therein specified—which document was shewn to the Collector of the Custom house in this Port of Baltimore, and altho’ the genuineness of the Paper was not doubted nor the force and existence of the Act of Congress upon which it was founded—yet he refuses to pay the sum agreed for by the Consul, unless specially authorised in such cases by the Secretary of State. There is also transmitted the Oath of the Seaman before a Justice of the Peace.1 The Secretary of State will in tender Consideration of a bona fide Creditor, be pleased to give that force and effect to his just claim, which may facilitate the recovery.”2

Tr and enclosures (DNA: RG 217, First Auditor’s Accounts, no. 16,474). Tr 1 p.; docketed by Wagner, with his note: “It is requested that the amount of this claim may be remitted to the claimant at Baltimore after the settlement of the account.” For enclosures, see n. 1.

1The enclosures (2 pp.) are copies of American seaman Edward Burk’s 3 May 1805 deposition before notary J. Smith that he had received passage to Baltimore on the Sally, Ralph Porter master, on 14 Jan. 1805, and Anthony Terry’s 18 Feb. 1805 declaration that in accordance with JM’s 9 Apr. 1803 circular, he had shipped Burk on board the Sally, for which he agreed that Porter would be paid ten dollars. For JM’s Circular Letter to American Consuls and Commercial Agents, see 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 4:491–93.

2On 11 May 1805 JM replied, “I have received your letter of the 7th. May inst: enclosing your claim for bringing a Seaman from Cadiz to the U: States which has been referred to the Treasury Department (to which the subject belongs) with a request that it may, if convenient, be paid at Baltimore” (DNA: RG 59, DL, vol. 14; 1 p.).

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