James Madison Papers

From James Madison to John Mason, 29 September 1813

To John Mason

Montpelier Sepr. 29. 1813

Dear Sir

I have recd. your letter of the 24th. instant with its several inclosures. My answer1 to your preceding one renders it unnecessary to do more than express my approbation of the very proper reply you have given to the letter from the British Commissary General of Prisoners.

The persevering detention of our Seamen who were on board British Ships, when war was declared, will engage particular attention.2 So marked a deviation from all the principles applicable to such a case, is best explained by the dread of their services on board the ships of their own Country, and the effect of their testimony in proclaiming the cruelties they have suffered, and animating their comrades to avenge them. Accept my friendly respects

James Madison

RC (MiU-C).

2Reuben G. Beasley, U.S. agent for prisoners in London, informed James Monroe in a letter of 27 May 1813 that “more than 300” American citizens had “been sent from the ships of war to prison ships,” and that he would bring their cases to the attention of British authorities (DNA: RG 59, CD, London). Several of these seamen wrote directly to JM requesting his intervention; see letters from Samuel Robinet, 6 May 1813, William Main George, 10 May 1813, and William Scribner, 8 June 1813.

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