James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Albert Gallatin, 5 April 1813

To Albert Gallatin

Apl. 5. 1813.

Dear Sir

It is determined finally to associate Mr. Bayard in the Mission Extraordinary to St. Petersburg. The Secretary of State informs him of it by this mail.1 It cannot fail to be useful, if you can see him on your way thro’ Wilmington, ascertain his sentiments on the occasion, and hasten his preparations if he should be willing to undertake the service. We hope the vessel will sail in 14 days at farthest. Affectionate respects

James Madison

It being unknown whether Mr. B. will accept the proposed Mission it will be best to withold it from the general conversation2

Mr Gerard is permitted to communicate with the B. Commander for the purpose of ransoming his ship.3

RC (NHi: Gallatin Papers).

1James Monroe to James A. Bayard, 5 Apr. 1813 (DNA: RG 59, IM).

2Bayard’s response to Monroe of 7 Apr. 1813 stated the senator’s willingness to be a member of the peace commission (Elizabeth Donnan, ed., Papers of James A. Bayard, 1796–1815, vol. 2 of Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1913 [Washington, 1915], 204).

3Stephen Girard wrote Monroe on 1 Apr. 1813 requesting permission to ransom his ship, the Montesquieu, which had been captured by the British on 27 Mar. off the Delaware coast. Girard reported that Sir John Poo Beresford wanted $180,000 for the ship and cargo, which Girard was “perfectly satisfied to give,” and that the government would receive more than $140,000 in duties on the cargo of “Teas and Nankeens” if the ransom took place (DNA: RG 59, ML). He enclosed a 1 Apr. 1813 letter to Monroe from Alexander James Dallas stating that there was no U.S. law preventing the ransom of such captured ships but recommending that Girard obtain the permission of the government before doing so (ibid., filed at 1 Aug. 1813). Monroe informed Girard on 5 Apr. that he had shown Girard’s letter to JM, who “readily assented to the measure proposed by you” (DNA: RG 59, DL). On 8 Apr., Dallas wrote to John Steele, collector at Philadelphia, stating that “the President has granted to Mr. Girard a Flag, in order, that he may negotiate the ransom of the Montesquieu & her Cargo,” and that Gallatin had asked Dallas to make arrangements with Steele “for enabling Mr Girard to take the full benefit of this grant” (Papers of Gallatin [microfilm ed.], reel 26).

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