James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Lee, 25 January 1806 (Abstract)

From William Lee, 25 January 1806 (Abstract)

§ From William Lee. 25 January 1806, Bordeaux. No. 130. “Since my respects of the 15th I have ⟨r⟩eceived the enclosed letter from Messrs. Pelletreau & Co. ⟨o⟩f Rochfort1 by which it appears the following Vessels have been destroyed by the Rochfort Squadron under the command of Admiral Allemagne.

“The Brig two Friends Capt Pennick bound from NYork to Nantz.

“The Schooner Alpha Capt Sargent bound from Marblehead to Bilboa.

“The Schooner Heart Capt. Tuck bound from Boston to Bilboa.

“The Brig Minerva Capt Salter bound from New York to Bordeaux.

“The Presidents message has been published ⟨b⟩y some of the Journals at Paris and particularly the Moniteur in a very incorrect manner. I was apprehensive of this and therefore sent a perfect translation of it to the two Editors of Gazettes in th⟨is⟩ City, but they chose rather to copy the Paris, pape⟨rs⟩ indeed I have always observed with considerable pain that in every publication relating to the political situati⟨on⟩ of the United States or its internal prosperity much pains are taken to misrepresent. I annex the moniteur & the paper called the Echo of Bordeaux that you may judge of this fact.

“I have learnt this morning that three privateers are fitting out in this port under Spanish Colours with the intention of cruizing against our commerce and that several american sailors have engaged on board of them. I have given orders to arrest these seamen and if I find them culpable, I shall think it my duty t⟨o⟩ send them home in Irons.”

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, CD, Bordeaux, vol. 2). RC 2 pp. For enclosure, see n. 1.

1The enclosure (3 pp., filed at 8 Mar. 1806) is a copy of a 19 Jan. 1806 letter from François Pelletrau & Cie. with a list of the four American ships burned by the Rochefort squadron. The letter stated that the company had previously written to Lee on 12 Jan. and that the captains of the ships had applied for assistance, since their ships had been burned so hastily that they were unable to save their possessions and in some instances were robbed of what little they had saved. The company asked for Lee’s orders as a representative of the United States and suggested he give the men credit with Pelletrau & Cie. Listed among the burned ships were the Alpha, owner John Hooper, the Hart, owner Ebenezer Parsons, and the Minerva, owner Ebenezer Stevens. For an earlier report on the burning of the ships, see PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (11 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends 10:668 and n. 2.

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