James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Robert Were Fox, 11 July 1807

Falmouth 11th. July 1807.

Esteemed Friend

Permit me to inform thee of the arrival here the 8th. Instant, of the Wasp Sloop of War, which Vessel I am sorry to inform thee was put under Quarantine in consequence of many of the Seaman having been sick on the Voyage, and six of them died.

I have done my utmost with the Officers of the Customs and Quarantine, to take off this restraint but without effect, as they tell me they cannot do it consistant with the strict orders, they have received from the Commissioners of the Customs.

My friend, W. R. Purveyance Esqr. as well as Captain Smith have assured me that none of the Crew have died from any infectious disease; which I communicated to the Officers, and stated to them my opinion that under such circumstances they should not detain the Crew on board, and particularly my Friend Purveyance as it is of much consequence he should be permitted to be landed, ⟨&⟩ proceed to London without loss of time. I offered to se⟨nd⟩ off Cloaths from the shore for that Gentleman, if they w⟨ould⟩ permit him to land, and the Crew to remain in Quaran⟨tine⟩ but I could not succeed. I regret it extremely as my Friend Purveyance has a very bad cold, and the sho⟨re⟩ I think would benefit his Health much, under the⟨se⟩ circumstances Captain Smith has determined to proceed to Portsmouth, and I have requested that a clearance be sent to that Port to meet the Ship.

I have sent on board fresh Provisions &c. I appre⟨hend⟩ some of the Crew were unwell from Colds, Rheumatism &C and some died of consumptive complaints. I have ⟨in⟩formed the Minister from time to time of the Ship⟨s⟩ detained at this Port, belonging to the United Sta⟨tes⟩ most of which have been liberated, tho not without ⟨a⟩ considerable expence, the concerned preferring to pay Charges, to the uncertainty of obtaining sufficient redr⟨ess⟩ in the Admiralty Court, for the detention of Ships & Cargo Enclosed be pleased to receive a list of the American Shipping arrived here, and at Plymouth. We have a prospect of a good Harvest, and prices are very moderate.

Vessels belonging to the United States arriving here from thence with Coffee, or other Goods in Bags, are put under Quarantine, unless the Master brings with him a Certificate of the fabric of the Bags, which is extremely hard on the concerned, and I presume would be done away on application, particularly such Vessels as come for orders, and do not discharge in Great Britain I am with the greatest respect Thy assured Friend

Rob W. Fox

P. S. The⟩ Wasp sailed this Evening ⟨for⟩ Portsmouth with a fine Wind. ⟨Vess⟩els that arrive here for orders and are ⟨no⟩t under Quarantine are permitted ⟨to⟩ depart when the Commanders chuse.

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

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