James Madison Papers

To James Madison from an Unidentified Correspondent, 16 March 1813

From an Unidentified Correspondent

Richmond, March 16th, 1813


I cannot be silent any longer when I find how liable, and how often you must be imposed upon by recommendations, petitions &ca signed by persons who call themselves Republicans.

Great exertions are making in this Place in behalf of those aliens who are ordered to the back part of this state & Many letters, and petitions with such signatures as I have before stated will be sent to you, requesting your aid in permitting them to remain.1 The excuses which are made for them, are as numerous as the applicants, and as false as numerous.

These very men for whom all these exertions are making, are the greatest enemies we have, & those that, are really friendly, and are willing to take up arms in defence of America not much are said for those I am truly sorry, but I think it improper to make, any exceptions particularly at this time. Many of these very applicants have had it in their power to have taken the Oath long ago, and have been heard to say, they would never forsake their King and Country &ca.

One of the applicants for whom there is the greatest exertion made is, a man who has violated the Embargo and would ruin this Country to aid the detestable British.2 My opinion is that, there should be no favour granted any one at all and let each share the same fate. It would tire your patience to make you acquainted with every particular circumstance, relative to each applicant. I hope Sir, for your own, and for our much injured Country, and our Republican Cause that, you will set your face against all applications of this sort.

Our Marshall I fear is doing very wrong, in giving permissions, for any alien to remain under any circumstances—he has granted permission to one this very day.3 Any further communication in my power shall be cherfully given whe⟨n⟩ requested by addresing a line t⟨o⟩ WF of this Place. Respectfully your Obt St

W. F.4

RC (DNA: RG 59, War of 1812 Papers, U.S. Marshals’ Returns of Enemy Aliens and Prisoners of War, Part II). Damaged by removal of seal.

1On 23 Feb. 1813 the State Department ordered that all alien enemies residing within forty miles of tidewater apply to their respective state or territorial marshals for passports to move further inland. Exceptions were to be granted for those who were lawfully engaged in some occupation other than commerce and who obtained monthly permission from the marshal to continue in their residences (Richmond Enquirer, 2 Mar. 1813).

2The writer probably referred to David Barclay, a Richmond merchant and native of Great Britain. Despite Virginia marshal Andrew Moore’s assertion that Barclay had broken the embargo laws, twenty-three signatures were affixed to a 17 Mar. 1813 petition to James Monroe requesting that Barclay be allowed to remain in Richmond. The petition was not successful, but by 25 July 1813, Barclay had been permitted to return (Moore to Monroe, 29 Mar. 1813, Benjamin Hatcher and others to Monroe, 17 Mar. 1813, and “A list of Aliens, who have been allowed to return” [DNA: RG 59, War of 1812 Papers, U.S. Marshals’ Returns of Enemy Aliens and Prisoners of War, Part II]).

3On 12 Mar. 1813, Monroe directed Moore to remove alien enemies without delay even if a petition for exception was awaiting an answer. As of 19 Mar., fifty-one alien enemies had been licensed to remain in Richmond for one month, while only twenty-nine had been removed from the city (Richmond Enquirer, 19 Mar. 1813).

4The writer may have been William Foushee, a physician who served as the first mayor of Richmond and later as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and the governor’s council (PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77, vols. 11–17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977–91). description ends , 10:543 n. 2).

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