James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Savage, 9 October 1801

From William Savage, 9 October 1801

October 9th. 1801


I have to acknowledge your letters under dates of July 21 & 22nd. with Documents respecting Wm. Dyer & George McKinny whic⟨h⟩ will be attended to.

This accompanys alist of three Hundred & Eighty one persons who have been Impresst since I took upon me the office of the Age⟨nt.⟩ I have been as particular in respect to every In⟨di⟩vidual as possible. You will observe that there are many that I am ignorant of the Vessels th⟨ey⟩ are on board, which arises from the partys om⟨itting⟩ this very material Information. Independe⟨nt⟩ of this list I have been Instrumental in liberat⟨ing⟩ hundreds of Seamen that have been taken by press gangs. Of these I have kept no memo⟨randum.⟩

I think it my duty to intimate that a great number of Americans by Birth have arrived in this port during this year, from Affrica & many of them in great distress from Sickn⟨ess⟩ & Sores. These people have generally been shipped at Liverpool.

It may not be improper to intimate tha⟨t⟩ in many Instances flour from America has been shipt to this Country short of weight & of a different quality from what the brand sets forth. I was lately called up by the Contractor for feeding the troops here to be present at the weighing of Several Barrells of flour, from Virginia, branded Hanover To⟨wn⟩ which only weighd 192 lbs. including the Barre⟨lls⟩ which should have been 215 lb ⟨These least⟩ was full. Their was no name. I inclose th⟨e⟩ certificate of Several persons who had insp⟨ected⟩ their Barrells of the same brand & part of same Cargo, which I believe to be corect The Contractor generally purchases about five thousand Barels per Annum, & for some time past in making up his Account the quarter Masters of the different Regiments have not been able to make good the weight of the flour given out. This I have been witness to, as I am one of The Commissioners of the public Accounts The Contract [. . .] at 196 per each Barrell. I trust you will not think it improper in me to make this representation, because I do not hold the office of Consul. I can have no motive but what I think is for the Interest of America of which Country I am a native. Should this practice of making Barrells of flour of shorter weight than your Laws regulate, creep into a Custom, the Consequence will be, that every Barrell will be weighed when disposed of here, which will create an additional expence of 10 Cents per Barrell. This upon the Annual importation of about 50,000 Bbls will be a Considerable Sum.

While I am upon this Subject I beg leave to observe that was the article of Beef from America judiciously attended to, this Island alone would take of in time twenty Thousand Barrells as what hitherto has been landed will not keep, which I am well convinced arises from the following Causes, Vizt.

Cattle in America are generally killed too late in the year, when the frost renders it so hard as to prevent the meats absorbing the Salt & when Meat has once taken the frost even in a slight degree, although a thaw comes on, yet the Salt cannot sufficiently penetrate, & in general the packers are too sparing of Salt & Nitre. I have been credibly informed that the late Mr. Darby of Salem Massachusetts Cons⟨istent⟩ly Slaughtered & packed all the Beef that was made use of in his Vessels to India, & in mo⟨st⟩ instances the Beef after having been to India & opened at Boston, after being packed near⟨ly⟩ two years was as good as any Irish Beef. I shall always take much pleasure in giving every Information in my power upon any point that may ultimately be of general Service, & am very respectfu⟨lly⟩ Your Obed. Huml. Servt.

Wm. Savage,

Agent for US of Americ⟨a⟩

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