James Madison Papers

To James Madison from David Lenox, 20 May 1802

From David Lenox, 20 May 1802

London May 20th: 1802


My Letter of the 10th. of March ⟨shou⟩ld advise you that I was preparing to return to the United States, & that I expected to embark some time this month. I conceived that the best mode of closing ⟨m⟩y Official business was to fix a day to pass to my ⟨Suc⟩cessor, the details of it, as some time would necessarily ⟨b⟩e required for Answers to be returned from the Admiralty. I accordingly delivered to Mr. Erving on the 1st. Instant a List of 597 Seamen where answers have been returned to me, stating, that having no documents to prove their Citizenship, the Lord’s Commissioners of the Admiralty could not consent to their discharge. My object ⟨in⟩ furnishing this List was to prevent a repetition of ⟨ap⟩plications to the Admiralty, which would not only ⟨ha⟩ve proved fruitless, but been attended with considerable troubles & embarrassment to Mr. Erving. I hav⟨e⟩ however little doubt but that most of those men have already been discharged. By the Abstra⟨ct⟩ which I have now the honor to send you enclosed, ⟨you⟩ will perceive that only seven cases of Seamen rem⟨ain⟩ unanswered, & those I am promised as soon as circum⟨stances⟩ will admit, but if they should not be received before ⟨I⟩ embark, I shall deliver a List of them to Mr. Erving.

In retiring from Office Sir, it was my wish ⟨to⟩ close my Official business in the way which I conceived most proper, & with this view I wrote to ⟨the⟩ different Consul’s to furnish their Accounts to the 1⟨st.⟩ April last, & directed the Account at St. Thomas⟨’s⟩ Hospital to be made up to the same period. To sat⟨isfy⟩ those demands it required about eight hundred Pounds, & for this sum I called on Mr. King agreea⟨bly⟩ to former usage, & received his order on Messrs. Bir⟨d,⟩ Savage & Bird, but on calling on those Gentlemen they informed me that no money had been remitted th⟨em⟩ this Year to the fund for the relief & Protection of our Seamen, that about £250 was all they had in their ⟨h⟩ands belonging to that fund, & which was all they could pay, alleging at the same time that this was conformable to instructions which they had received from the Secretary of the Treasury. I informed Mr. King of the circumstance & he again stated to them ⟨th⟩at as I was about closing my Official business in ⟨thi⟩s Country, the sum for which the order was given ⟨w⟩as necessary, & desired that it might be advanced, that the difference should be carried to a new Account, ⟨bu⟩t to my great astonishment those Gentlemen still ⟨re⟩fused to comply. I shall at present make but ⟨fe⟩w comments on this extraordinary transaction, but I must observe that I think the conduct of Messrs. ⟨B⟩ird Savage & Bird most exceptionable, not only ⟨as⟩ it respects our Country, but its Representative & myself. I will venture to assert that had any sum been ⟨re⟩quired under similar circumstances from any merchant of reputation in London, it would not have been refused Mr. King politely offered me the money from his private funds, but this I declined, prefering the advancem⟨ent⟩ for I conceived myself equally bound to discharge a⟨ll⟩ debts contracted during my Agency, as if they had be⟨en⟩ of a private nature. I have now paid every dema⟨nd⟩ against the United States, except what may be du⟨e⟩ the Consuls at Hull, & in Scotland, (who have no⟨t⟩ furnished their Accounts), & an old account due to ⟨Mr.⟩ Maury our Consul at Liverpool prior to my arri⟨val⟩ in this Country, which I conceived it improper for me ⟨to pay.⟩

I beg leave just to add that the whole expenditur⟨e⟩ during my Agency, exclusive of my Salary, & whic⟨h⟩ includes the expenditures of all our Consuls in Great Britain (with the exception of those which I have mentioned) will not exceed £2,500 Sterling, a sum wh⟨ich⟩ I flatter myself will appear small, when it is taken ⟨into⟩ consideration the period in which it was expended. I ha⟨ve⟩ taken my passage in the Ship Maryland for New York, & exp⟨ect⟩ to leave this about the 1st. of June. With great respe⟨ct⟩ I am Sir Your Most Obedient Serv⟨ant⟩

D. Leno⟨x⟩

Index Entries