James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George W. Erving, 21 July 1802

From George W. Erving, 21 July 1802

American Consulate London, 21st. July 1802.


I have had the honor of receiving my Commission as Consul for this Port ⟨u⟩pon the nomination of the President ratified by the Senate, & in pursuance of your direction return the usual bond herewith. I have also the honor ⟨o⟩f inclosing my Account as Consul & as Agent for the relief and protection of Seamen from the time ⟨w⟩hen Mr. Lenox resigned this last Employment, ⟨to⟩ the 30th. June: the balance due to me £186.14.5 1/2 Sterling. I appli’d in course to Mr. King to reimburse me this amount; but he declined, concieving that under the new regulation made by the Treasury ⟨r⟩especting the appropriations of Public Moneys ⟨in⟩ this Country, he has no longer any controul ⟨o⟩ver our Funds enabling him to provide for the disbursements of this Agency. Our Bankers Mess⟨rs.⟩ Bird & Co. have also declined advancing this amou⟨nt⟩ upon the Credit of future remittances, for the reas⟨on⟩ set forth in their letter, a Copy of which is inclosed. ⟨I⟩ have therefore carried forward the sum of £186.⟨14.5 1/2⟩ to the Dr. of a New Account.

I herewith also transmit my accounts to 30th. June as Agent for Claims and Appeals, ⟨being⟩ due to the United States £52.17.4 Sterling, and Copy of my Spoliation Accot. with Bird & Co., whi⟨ch⟩ shews more particularly the state of that fun⟨d.⟩ A Bill of £175 Stg. drawn upon me from the Wes⟨t Indies⟩ for the Expences attending the serving sundry Pr⟨ocesses⟩ there, will be debited to this Account when Paid; ⟨this⟩ Bill however as it has not been accompanied ⟨by⟩ the account of the drawer, (Andrew Chausurier ⟨at St. ⟩ Dominique), I have at present declined to accept. ⟨The⟩ Proctors begin to be very uneasy respecting their ⟨pay⟩, Mr. Slade more particularly, a Copy of whose ⟨letter⟩ to me upon the subject I think it proper to inc⟨lose.⟩ I conversed upon this business with Mr. King; ⟨but⟩ nothing can be done beyond the means which I ⟨have c⟩ontinually taken to keep the Proctors from clamouring. The fund which I am likely to have from the remittances which we daily expect, added to what may be deducted from abt. Twenty five Martinique Cases (for the advances of the U. S) which are soon expected to be recieved, the appropriation for their payment having been made by the British Parliament, will I fear hardly suffice to satisfy the Proctor’s for the present, and untill the payments on the awards of the Commissioners shall become due; and there is very little probability of my recieving much from the Captors.

The ratifications of our Convention were exchanged on the 15 Inst., since when I have concluded to forward no more Processes to the West Indies; nor to extract any, where there is not a prospect of receiving immediate Payment; for the Expences of serving them are very considerable, and it is hardly possible that we should recover these from the British Government; in most cases they could not be ascertained so as to be included in the award; the possibility of Payments being made also on some of these Processes would embarrass and ⟨delay⟩ the proceedings of the Board. Perhaps they would ref⟨use⟩ to award ’till the Monitions were returned unsatis⟨fied,⟩ or they might make conditional awards; these a⟨nd⟩ similar considerations have induced me to corr⟨espond⟩ with Mr. Pinckney upon the subject, and I have un⟨der⟩stood from him that it was formerly agitated ⟨at⟩ the Board and finally agreed upon, that after ⟨the⟩ Claimant had obtained a Confirmation of the Reg [. . .] and Merchants’ Report, he should be considered ⟨as⟩ having pursued the judicial remedy far eno⟨ugh⟩ to entitle him to lay his Case before the Commis⟨sioners⟩ and to recieve their Award. I am happy to ⟨find⟩ the board are proceeding in their business with much more dispatch than I had calculated. ⟨As⟩ soon as they begin to make awards I shall fo⟨rward⟩ a List of their decisions. To comply with yo⟨ur⟩ instructions I herewith also inclose as List o⟨f the⟩ Ships of which the Masters have reported to m⟨e⟩ their arrival, and lament that it is so inco⟨mplete⟩ and so wholly useless to every good purpose. ⟨By⟩ Enquiries amongst the Merchants’ here I mi⟨ght⟩ have added the Names of a few others, but i⟨t is⟩ absolutely impossible to obtain such a Statement as is desired without some strong legal controul over the Masters. I have the honor to be with the most perfect respect Sir, Your very Obedt. Servt.

George W Erving

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