James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James McGreggar, 23 January 1808

Saint Thomas 23d. January 1808


I wrote you on the 4th. and 6th. Inst. per Schooner Friendship ⟨and⟩ forwarded Returns of American Vessels, which arrived here ⟨prev⟩ious to the 1st. inst, also the accounts of Money received and expended ⟨on acc⟩ount of the United States, with Vouchers for the same.

In Mine of the 4th. inst I informed you that the Commercial ⟨re⟩lations of this Island was to remain upon the same footing as ⟨it w⟩as previous to the Capture. This Information I had from the ⟨Co⟩llector, but they have made regulations since, which places the ⟨Is⟩land in the same situation as other British Colonies.

I received information on the 18th. inst of an Embargo ⟨   ⟩ laid on all American Vessels in the United States by Government ⟨and⟩ have since received the Act passed 22d. Decr. 1807. I do ⟨not⟩ Know the intention of Government in passing this Act in its ⟨pre⟩sent form, for certain it is, if they wished to prevent the ⟨Wes⟩t Indies being furnished with Provisions, it will not have ⟨the⟩ desired effect; I have heard within these three days of five Vessels arriving in the Islands from America, with ⟨   ⟩ Licences. The Brig Sally Captn. Ansdell of and from Ph⟨ila⟩ and two other names unknown have arrived at Antigua, ⟨like⟩wise a Schooner name unknown at Porto Rico, and th⟨e⟩ Schooner Fair American, Clement Master, of and from Georgetown has been sent into Tortola for adjudication.

It is not improbable that the Citizens of the United States may be constrained by the Act in its present form ⟨   ⟩ they receive advices of the fate of those already sailed ⟨and⟩ the determination of the British, to capture all vessels, w⟨hich⟩ have not regular Clearances and Papers. However should ⟨they⟩ adopt a different Policy, and encourage Our Citizens In brea⟨king the⟩ Laws of Our Country, and it is the intention of Governmen⟨t to⟩ prevent supplies being sent to the West India Islands, ⟨I⟩ am of opinion, that it will be found necessary to alter ⟨or⟩ amend the Act, placing Coasting Vessels under the same ⟨re⟩strictions as Registered or Sea Letter Vessels.

It is reported here that an Embargo has been laid on American Vessels in Barbadoes, and that they will be detained untill orders are received from England to convoy to the United States, lest they should fall into the han⟨ds⟩ of the French. It is very probable that a similar mo⟨de of⟩ conduct will be adopted throughout the British Colonies ⟨   ⟩. The Ship Pomona Captain Moses Hoyt, and the Ship John ⟨   ⟩ew Captn. Pride, both of New York, in their passage from ⟨Gua⟩daloupe to New York, were captured and sent ⟨to⟩ Tortola for adjudication.

I have written my friend William Thornton Esqr ⟨req⟩uesting him to adjust my Accounts with the United States. I have the Honor to be very respectfully Sir Your Most Obt. St.

James McGreggar

DNA: RG 59—CD—Consular Despatches, St. Thomas.

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