James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George W. Erving, 30 November 1801

From George W. Erving, 30 November 1801

No. 5

American Consulate London, 30h: Novr: 1801.


I have the honour to inclose herewith a Statement of the demands of the Proctors ⟨e⟩mployed in the prosecution of Appeals, with an ⟨a⟩ccount of the Monies which they have at several times received: It is not quite exact because Cricket & Townley have not yet delivered in their Bills, nor will be able before Christmas; in every other particular it is ⟨c⟩orrect and the supposition made as to the ballance ⟨d⟩ue to them cannot be far from the truth; You’ll ⟨o⟩bserve that the provision necessary to be made for the discharge of these Claims is very considerable. Mr: Slade to whom the largest ballance is due has ⟨o⟩f late been particularly urgent for payment, & ⟨e⟩ven thinks of resigning the business, but this I understand is a threat that he has before made. The amount of the late appropriation of Drs. 15,000, & the ballance of Messrs: Bird, Savage & Bird’s Acct: up to last Sepr: (being about £2,000 Stg:) will be divided between the Proc⟨tors⟩ in the beginning of Jany:, at which time the last B⟨ill⟩ remitted to Bird & Co: will become due; for the remaind⟨er⟩ I shall give them such assurances as they have from time to time received; that they need be under no apprehension as to Eventual payment, and presume that I may also encourage them to hope that there will be in the course of the Spring a further sum appropriated for their payment. Indeed it appears some considerable sums should be applied to this ob⟨ject⟩ for tho’ to keep ballances due on their accounts may give some spring and activity to the business, yet it may be apprehended that when these bal⟨lances⟩ become so very large some distrust and want of Secu⟨rity⟩ may arise, which may produce languor and inatten⟨tion⟩ to our affairs; and tho’ in case of the dissatisfaction ⟨of⟩ any Proctor it would not be difficult to transfer th⟨e⟩ business in his hands into those of another, yet the transfer might produce some inconvenience which ⟨it⟩ would be well if possible to avoid: After seeing the enclosed statement however, you will best judg⟨e⟩ of the propriety of making further remittances, & will please to instruct me as to the answer to be given to their future applications for settlement, if any should be made. In my letter (No: 4) 31 Octr: by Mr. Dawson, I inclosed ⟨a⟩mongst others two general Statements, one of Monies received ⟨u⟩pon Decrees in the Court of Appeals, and one of Monies received ⟨from⟩ Awards of the Commissioners (duplicates of which are ⟨i⟩nclosed,) On looking over the Bills of the Proctors which ⟨a⟩t the time of making those Statements I had not seen, ⟨I a⟩m inclined to suppose that in the memorandum made at the foot of the latter statement I may have ⟨es⟩timated rather too highly the average cost of prosecuting the Claims decided by the Board; the many provision ⟨ca⟩ses that came immediately before them, were attended with little Expence, tho’ upon those which had previously ⟨p⟩assed the Courts the Costs were generally very great; but the number of Cases which have been decided by the Board ⟨w⟩ere comparatively low, the Expences in some have been paid by private Agents, and great Expences have already ⟨ac⟩crued in the Courts in Cases hereafter to come before them ⟨To⟩ make therefore a fair calculation of the Expence of ⟨executing t⟩his part of the English Treaty, and to obtain a just idea ⟨of⟩ the advantages to result from this 7th: Article one must ⟨ta⟩ke into view all the charges that have arisen on Cases not yet decided & upon those dismissed, & condemn⟨ed,⟩ the difference between the amount recovered in Cases deci⟨ded⟩ in our favor, & the claimants statement of loss in those ca⟨ses,⟩ The amount of bona fide American property condemned, the great loss of interest upon the whole claims; For one ⟨part⟩ of this calculation the accompanying statement of the proctors demands furnishes the best datum. The latter part must be formed a great deal upon Average & conjecture: But after endeavouring by every kind of allow⟨ance⟩ & deduction to bring this as near certainty as possible, I cannot see how the whole amount already recovered & that ⟨which⟩ probably may be recovered (if the business proceeds in its present manner & the commission does not meet again) can exceed abt. 1,360,000 Ds. The Actual Expences may be estimated at 392,253 Ds. (besides the payment of Commissioners & agents) If there be added to this only 200,000£ or abt. 888,888 Ds. for the loss of Interest upon the whole Claim we shall have received to satisfy the principal sum of that claim, a ballance of about 78,859 Ds. which will not pay quite half the Salaries of Commissi⟨oners⟩ & agents. I have the honor to be with great Respect Sir Your very obt. Svt.

George W Erving

P.S. Decr. 25th. I have received from the Department ⟨the⟩ Acts of 6th. Session of Congress for Mr. King, Lenox ⟨m⟩yself & the other Consuls in this county; tho directed ⟨on⟩ the outside not to be put in the Post office they came ⟨wi⟩th 10£ postage on them, thro the neglect or wilfulness ⟨of⟩ the Captain to whose charge they were committed: ⟨bu⟩t upon application a proper reduction was made ⟨in⟩ this Charge.


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