James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Lamson, 18 March 1802

From John Lamson, 18 March 1802

Trieste March 18th. 1802

Respected Sir

My last to You was under date of the 29 Decr. 1801 a few days after my arrivall in this City, since which I have received a duplicate of Your circular to the Consuls and Agents of the United States, and duly note the contents. The instructions and recommendations therein contained will receive my most Unremitted attention To facilitate the wishe⟨s⟩ of the Goverment and promote the intrests of the Citizens of the U.S. by every means within the limits of my Abilities will ever be my study. That You should be "informed of the channells in which our commerce flows" is truly very important and to this part of my duty I shall be very attentive but while no law exists authorising the necessary information from those who have the management of the cargos: it will seldom be accurate especially in a port like this, no duties being payable little attention is paid to entries; the counterfeiting our Sea Letters is an evil to counteract which effectually will be difficuilt without Legislative aid; to prevent our Vessels from suffering by an oppressive quarantine, communications have been made to the proper Officer, and I am induced to beleive we shall have every indulgence the existing circumstances will allow, and shall give You the earliest information of the pravelence of epidemics. Trieste being a free port in a central situation has every appearence of becoming in a commercial view important. The facility with which it can communicate with all the South of Germany, and a great part of Italy, renders it probable that these places would prefer taking their Supplies from hence especially, if they can find a ready sale for their Manufactures, as a considerable expence would be saved in the transportation. As much may depend Upon the Manner in which this trade is first introduced, I submit to you the propriety of so far altering the consular commission as to make it general for all the ports of the Emperor in the Adriatic, including Venice, Untill the commerce becomes of so much importance as to induce Citizens of the United States to accept consular commissions. By this means a Uniform system may be adopted in all the ports and thus prevent the intrests of our Merchants from suffering by the rivalship which might be created should those offices pass into the hands of foreigners, who not having a thourough knowledge of our country and its commerce, cannot allways be supposed to have the same intrests.

Indeed the Goverment here have put this construction on my commission and have given me their Exequator accordingly & in consequence I shall venture to name agents in the different ports Untill I receive your instructions to the contrary. Should this construction be thought too extensive or inconsistent with the views of the President, his determination will meet a most cheerfull acquiescence on my part. As it is probable the United States will allways find it for their advantage to keep (even in time of peace) a part of their Navall force in the Medeteranean it may in future be thought necessary to have Agents in some of the ports for their supplies if one should be found necessary for the Adriatic, I hope I shall not be thought impertinate if ⟨I⟩ Solicite Your patronage.

In the frankfort paper appeared the following artic⟨le⟩ which I translate verbatim for Your information. "Stockholm 9. Feby. 1802 The Bey of Tripoli has bought in the port of Smyrna a Vessell with three masts which he will employ against the Sweedish and American Ships".

I hope I shall not be tho’t too negligent if I defer sending you a return of all the American Vessells that have ever visited this port Untill June, in order that it may be more compleat and correct. I am Sir with every Sentiment of esteem and respect Your most Obed. Huml. Servt.

John Lamson

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