James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Charles J. Ingersoll, [1 August-22 October] 1805

From Charles J. Ingersoll

Sunday Evening [ca. 1 August–22 October 1805]

In the 9th. vol. page 421 of Smollet’s continuation of Hume1 an account is given of the dispute with Spain in 1737. In the 5th. vol. page 313 of the Lords Debates the Motion of Lord Cholmendeley and Speech of Ld Carteret on this subject will be found. In page 333 Lord Carteret is thus reported “The Spanish Court says We have a right to search your ships But no search are the words that echo from shore to shore of this Island. Unless we obtain this concession from them of no search, be the grounds & pretensions what they will, we in effect give them such a right. But this takes away chicane, altercation and grounds of dispute about latitude, possessions and prohibited goods.”2

Sir—The above references will lead to the speeches at large from which I have preserved only a short extract. With great respect and consideration your humble servant

C. J. Ingersoll

RC (DLC). Undated; conjectural date assigned based on the probability that the letter was written during JM’s stay in Philadelphia from 29 July to 23 Oct. 1805, when JM was researching and writing his pamphlet, An Examination of the British Doctrine, Which Subjects to Capture a Neutral Trade, Not Open in Time of Peace.

1Ingersoll probably referred to Tobias Smollett’s A Complete History of England, from the Descent of Julius Caesar, to the Treaty of Aix la Chapelle, 1748: Containing the Transactions of One Thousand Eight Hundred and Three Years, 2d. ed. (11 vols.; London, 1758–60). For the reference to the 1737 British dispute with Spain, see the 1800 edition (5 vols.; London), 3:7–8.

2Ingersoll has conflated and paraphrased the extracts from Lord Carteret’s 2 May 1738 speech in a debate in Parliament on Spanish demands to search British ships suspected of trading with Spanish colonies. Carteret first made the statement about “no search” and several minutes later added “yet, my Lords, unless we obtain the concession from them of ‘no search, be the grounds and pretensions what they will,’ we, in effect, give them such a right,” adding shortly after that: “Besides, my Lords, an absolute concession of this point from the Spaniards takes away chicane, it takes away all altercations, it takes away all grounds of dispute betwixt us and them, about latitude, possessions, prohibited goods, and all that” (Parliamentary History of England, 10:730, 745, 753).

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