James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William D. Patterson, 5 May 1806

Nantes May 5th. 1806


The inclosed which I had the honor to address on you on April 5th. Ulto. mentioned my having delivered Ships Passes to Wm. Collin’ Boishamon ⟨at⟩ St. Malo. As in so doing, I may have in appearance ⟨e⟩xceeded the strict letter of your instructions permit me to relate the circumstances, which induced me to go beyond the limits prescribed me by your letter in date ⟨1⟩2th. July 1805, and which were received by me on the 10th. Octr. and made public as directed by you. An application was made to me, on the 26th. Decr. from St. Malo ⟨fo⟩r Papers for the Brig William purchased by the person ⟨a⟩forementioned, accompanied by his Bill of Sale dated 14 ⟨M⟩essidor an 19. (3 July 1803) and a permission from the Minister ⟨of⟩ Marine, for the Owner to sell, without which no vessel can ⟨be⟩ sold to a Stranger; these documents were certified by a ⟨No⟩tary Public As the time limited had expired several ⟨da⟩ys, I refused to grant the Papers, but on a second ap⟨pli⟩cation and the case more fully stated to meI was induced to write to Mr. Barnet acting Commercial Agent at Par⟨is⟩ inclosing him the documents I had received from St. Mal⟨o⟩ and requesting him to obtain, our Minister’s opinion th⟨ereon.⟩ This I did on the 15th. Feby. and received an answer on the 25th. following saying "I have submitted your letter of the 15th. to our Minister. He thinks if the Consul of the District in which that Port is situated, is satisfied b⟨y⟩ the requisites pointed out by the instructions from t⟨he⟩ Dept. of State, and also, that the purchase was mad⟨e⟩ within the time mentioned in the last instructions, th⟨e⟩ Owner of the vessell would doubtless be entitled to his Ships Papers".

In the last application made to me by the purchaser and which is herewith inclosed, he declar⟨ed⟩ "there is no American Agent residing in the Town, nor a⟨ny⟩ Newspaper published whereby he could be informed" ⟨of⟩ the last instructions published. Under these circumstances, and with Genl. Armstrong’s opinion I conceivd myself empowered to deliver the necessary Papers, as I fel⟨t⟩ fully convinced that the purchase was bona fide Americ⟨an⟩ and made much anterior to the reception of your instr⟨uc⟩tions, and the application, made only six days after th⟨e⟩ two months allowed had expired. I have therefore grant⟨ed⟩ a certificate of Ownership from this Office, to which are attached a Notarial copy of the Bill of Sale dated St. Malo 13 Messr. an 19e. (3 July 1803e.) with a translation thereof, an affidavit of his being the sole Owner, & a Certificate of Citizenship granted by Wm. Wilson Esqr. Judge of a Court held at Norfolk Virginia dated 16th. August 1803, declaring William Collin Boishamon, was a resident on the 29th. January 1795.

But Sir, fearing that you may deem it improper that your instructions have not been strictly complyed with, I have taken the inclosed conditional receipt, which still leaves it to your opinion, to grant the final necessary Documents, to which I have added other documents to prove this Statement. You will please to forgive this long detail, which I have been obliged to enter into, in order to state the transaction in its true light.

I have taken the liberty to inclose you the last Journal received. It contains a notice on a circumstance which has caused much conversation. When Genl. Boudinot marched with his Division to take possession of the Principality of Neuchatel, he found there much English Merchandize which he seized & confiscated, as the people had then become Subjects of France. On his return he marched through Bâle where there were also large quantities, which were also seized. The Merchants owners of the Ports, sent a remonstrance to Paris, founding their reclamation on their neutrality. It is supposed crushed in offensive terms, as an order was immediately sent to the Landmann of Switzerland to arrest them which was done as mentioned in the Journal, & the several Swiss Cantons have since passed decrees prohibiting these Goods. I have the honor to be, Sir with great respect Your Obedt Serv

W D Patterson

DNA: RG 59—CD—Consular Despatches, Nantes.

Index Entries