James Madison Papers

From James Madison to the House of Representatives, 27 April 1810 (Abstract)

§ To the House of Representatives

27 April 1810. Transmits a report of the secretary of state in compliance with the House resolution of 23 Apr.1

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 233, President’s Messages). RC 1 p. In a clerk’s hand, signed by JM. Enclosures are Robert Smith’s 26 Apr. report (2 pp.) on U.S. consular and commercial agents in foreign countries, “together with the Salaries and compensations that have been allowed to the Consuls residing at Algiers, Tripoli, Tunis and Morocco” (2 pp.). Received, read, and tabled on 27 Apr. Printed in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States ... (38 vols.; Washington, 1832-61). description ends , Commerce and Navigation, 1:819–20.

1The House resolution of 23 Apr. requested “a statement of the several consular or commercial agents” of the U.S. “together with the salaries or compensation, if any, allowed to them, respectively.” Four days after the receipt of JM’s message, Congress, on 1 May, passed a bill to fix “the compensation of public ministers, and of Consuls residing on the coast of Barbary.” JM signed the bill, but according to Robert Smith’s later recollection he had such “strong objections” to it that he “utterly disregarded its provisions.” Smith added that JM deemed it inexpedient either to veto it or to recommend its modification, and instead “at a late period of the session” he “pressed me much to prevail upon some member to introduce, with that view, a bill into Congress.” Smith declined on the grounds that he “had powerful objections to every kind of private intermeddling with the business of members of the Legislature and especially to such secret modes of recommending public measures to the consideration of Congress.” JM received this response “with great perturbation and was evidently much displeased” (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States ... (42 vols.; Washington, 1834-56). description ends , 11th Cong., 2d sess., 1946; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America ... (17 vols.; Boston, 1848-73). description ends , 2:608–10; National Intelligencer, 2 July 1811).

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