James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Henry Cooper, 1 July 1803

From Henry Cooper, 1 July 1803

(Consular Office of the United States) St Croix 1st. July 1803.


At the period of my resignation of the appointment of Consul for this Island, & its dependencies, ⟨c⟩ommunicated to you by my letter of 18th. Decemr. last, I was ⟨r⟩ender’d wholly incapable of accomplishing my intention ⟨to⟩ furnish a half yearly return of the trade of the United States with this Island, agreeably to your wish. ⟨In⟩ the interim however, as my strength has permited, I have ⟨h⟩ad the satisfaction (tho’ with no small difficulty) to accom⟨p⟩lish this object, as will appear by the two inclos’d semi-⟨a⟩nnual Statements, the first, from Janry to July 1802, ⟨th⟩e second, continued from thence to the last of Decemr. ⟨T⟩hese returns however are to be consider’d as materially defec⟨ti⟩ve, arising from the impossibility of obtaining the requisite ⟨p⟩rivate information from the Captains of American ⟨v⟩essels, to accomplish which, every mode of sollicitation has ⟨be⟩en adopted without effect, & as in this respect I am not ⟨in⟩ possession of legal power to command, there remains ⟨n⟩o other source of information but the Books of the ⟨C⟩ustoms which may not altogether be correct. My con⟨je⟩cture is, that they exhibit little more than 2/3ds. of the real [. . .]ports.

The precarious tenor of my health ⟨s⟩till continuing to unfit me for the due execution of all the ⟨d⟩uties & functions of the Consular Office, I am prompted to express a hope, that his Excellency, by the early Appointment ⟨of a⟩ Successor, may be graciously pleas’d to relieve me of⟨pos⟩ession, & I cannot but the more earnestly desire this, [. . .] the prospect of those Duties being render’d an infinite⟨ly⟩ more arduous task by the recommencement of hostili⟨tie⟩s between the powers of France & England, which, ⟨ju⟩dging from former example, will in all human probability involve great molestation to Neutral Rights and Neutral Commerce, & it may not be impertinent to remark, that the commercial intercourse with the Danish West Indies will be found no inconsiderable Object in the General history of the Trade of the United States, of course will receive all due protection, & as tha⟨t⟩ may in no small degree depend on the Ability & exertio⟨ns⟩ of my Successor in the Consular Office, I feel great regre⟨t⟩ at not being earlier apprised of a wish of a Gentlema⟨n⟩ of this Island (Hr. Edward Dewhurst) to obtain the Appointment. Otherwise I should have been highly gratified to have mention’d him as a person possessing all the requisite qualifications, & generally in all circumstances the most eligible Candidate in my Opinion resident in this Country. Add to which, no Man can possess a warmer Attachment to the Inter⟨est⟩ of the United States, which he naturally cultivated by many years residence in his Youth, & receiving an American Mercantile Education, & has since confirm’d by a ten years extensive Commercial intercourse from this Island. In pronouncing my opinion & recommendation of this Gentleman, I beg not to be suspected of gratifying the feelings of priva⟨te⟩ friendship, or that I presume upon any degree of influence in his favor. My motive arises solely out of the desire of being so far further useful, feeling the most lively Attachment to the Nation I have had the Honor to serve, & the sincerest Gratitude to his Excellency thro’ who’s friendly influence I received ⟨the⟩ honor of my Appointment. I have the Honor to be Sir, very Respectfully Your Mo. Hum. Servan⟨t⟩

Henry Cooper

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