James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Elmslie, 10 July 1801

From John Elmslie, 10 July 1801

Cape Town Good Hope 10 July 1801.


Since I had the Honor of receiving your favor of 4th. Augt. 1800 which did not reach me till 22nd. of Aprl. last containing my Instructions, accompany’d with Duplicate of my Commission & Blank Bonds; The Bond I have signed & forwarded it to Mr. John Evans of Philada. my security who will sign the same & forward it to your office. I have had no opportunity either via England or direct to America to acknowledge same and I beg leave now to inclose a List of the Vessels which have entered the Ports at the Cape from March 1800, being the time I first received Official advice from Mr. Pickering per the U. States Frigate Essex of my Appointment, untill June 1801 inclusive. You will find in the List one Vessel which came in here—Trading contrary to the Laws of the U. States—vizt. The Alnomac, Capt. Chace belonging to the Port of Hollowell state of Massachusetts, but as I had not then received my Instructions I forebore taking any cognizance of the same. You will likewise observe in the List now sent several Capts. who did not call to report their Vessels some of whom were repeatedly requested so to do. I know not whether there is any penalty annexed, In Case Captns. of American vessels either wilfully or through neglect omit calling on Consuls to report. Having not yet received the Laws of the U. States which Mr. Pickering informed me were to be forwarded, I have taken no further notice of these irregularities but merely noted the same in order to inform Government that such have happened. When Mr. Williams transmitted to me Duplicate of my Commission (for the Origl. has not yet come to hand) he at the same time informed me that no Exequature had been granted for the Cape and from what he learned from the Minister at London Mr. King, none likely wd.

I advised Government on the receipt of Mr. Pickerings Letter of 18th. Decr. 99. that in consequence of which His Excellency Sir George Yonge then Governor at the Cape had received and acknowledged me Consul for the U. States at the Cape & upon receipt of my Comisson I have been again acknowledged by His Honor Major General Dundas now acting Governor. I cannot help mentioning the very friendly attention which the late Governor Sir George Yonge paid to every application which I had to make in American Affairs, particularly in a late Case of mutiny on board the Brig Globe from Philada. Capn. Bingham. It appeared on examination that the Crew of this vessel were principally instigated to acts of mutiny by two dutch Passangers, Brinkoff & Bruchman whom Capn. Bingham had agreed to take on to Batavia. Bruchman on the passage had threatened to stab the Supercargo & by the affidavits of Capn. B. had encouraged the Crew to rise up & take the Vessel. On Application to His Excellency the Governor I had Bruchman put on shore here. Capn. Bingham & the Supercargo having declared on Oath before the Governor that if Bruchman was not taken out of the Brig they conceived their lives would be in jeopardy Sir George not only granted an Order for to have Bruchman put on Shore, but told me that if Capt. Bingham wished to have the ringleaders tried for mutinous conduct he would summon a special Court which he was authorised to call for trying Mutiny & Piracy. Happily however the matter was adjusted without going to extremities. For these favors I took an opportunity of thanking His Excellency before his departure & he very graciously answered, that he had ever been a friend to America and would always be pleased to render her any services in his Power. The only Political information which I have to acquaint you with is a late secret Expedition which partly went from the Cape but principally from India & thought to be intended agains⟨t⟩ Manilla. I conceive it will also be proper to mention that there are several American seamen on board the Kings ships at the Cape. I have made several applications to the Admiral Sir Roger Curtis for th⟨eir⟩ discharge, but in general without effect. The arguments offered for detaining these men, are that they either have no Protections or they have taken the Kings bounty. Those of the first class the admiral has more than once declared he will not discharge without Certificates are sent from America of their being actual citizens & those of the second not withstanding they have their Protections he will not without orders from His Majestys ministers, discharge. I shall just annex a list of those who have at sundry times made application to me for to procure their discharge and With great Respect I have the Honor to be Sir Your most Obt. Humble Servt.

John Elmslie Junr.

List of Seamen on the other side.

P. S. Please to hand the inclosed to The President.

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