James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Kirkpatrick, 19 August 1805 (Abstract)

From William Kirkpatrick, 19 August 1805 (Abstract)

§ From William Kirkpatrick. 19 August 1805, Málaga. “My last Letter to you was under date 5th: July by duplicates, inclosing the Semi Annual Return of arrivals at this Port; I also mention’d that the Brig Washington, Captain Atkins Adams had been brought in for adjudication, on her Voyage from Leghorn to Boston; on the 12h: ulto. she was finally set at liberty, without Costs, but no damages were allowed.

“In consequence of the representation of our Minister in Madrid, a circular order has been pass’d to the Marine Tribunals in the different Ports of Spain, desiring that the American Vessels should not be detained without a just cause, and that the proceedings against them should be expeditiously dispatched, in conformity to the existing Treaty and Marine Ordinances, as you will observe by the enclos’d Copy1 which I have succeeded in procuring.

“I enclose Copy of a Letter which the French under Commissary of Commercial Relations has address’d me, and of the Decree therein referr’d to.2

“You will before this reaches you, have had the pleasing information of Peace being happily restored with Tripoly, on the most honorable terms for the United States.

“Captain Bainbridge has advised me his arrival at Gibraltar on his way home in the Frigate President.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, CD, Málaga, vol. 1). RC 2 pp. For enclosures, see nn.

1Kirkpatrick enclosed a copy (1 p.; in Spanish; docketed by Wagner) of a 25 July 1805 letter from Juan Joaquín Moreno to Pedro Guerrero conveying a message from Pedro Cevallos that because of Charles Pinckney’s complaints about the seizure of American ships by Spanish privateers, most recently the cases of the John, the Polly, the Washington, and another ship at Bilbao, the king had ordered Spanish courts to proceed without delay to the investigation and decision in those cases in conformity with laws on the matter and with the treaty between the United States and Spain. Moreno added that he was sending this decree so Guerrero could communicate to owners and captains of privateers that the most effective method of complying with the order would be to give careful consideration to intercepting neutral vessels unless there were reasonable grounds for suspicion.

2The enclosures (3 pp.) are copies of a 22 Thermidor an 13 (10 Aug. 1805) letter from French under-commissary Pierre Agaud to Kirkpatrick, enclosing Napoleon’s 18 Prairial an 13 (7 June 1805) decree, which stated: “All privateers, the two thirds of whose crews are not natives of England or subjects of a power hostile to France, and who are Frenchmen, Genoese, or Neapolitans,” would be considered pirates, the officers shot, and the crew condemned to the galleys. The minister of marine was charged with the execution of the decree, which was to be printed, publicly posted, translated into all European languages, and transmitted to all French commissaries of commercial relations. An English translation was printed in the 10 Oct. 1805 Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser.

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