James Madison

Special Message

February 22, 1813

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

I lay before Congress a letter, with accompanying documents, from Captain Bainbridge, now commanding the United States frigate the Constitution, reporting his capture and destruction of the British frigate the Java. The circumstances and the issue of this combat afford another example of the professional skill and heroic spirit which prevail in our naval service. The signal display of both by Captain Bainbridge, his officers and crew, commands the highest praise.

This being a second instance in which the condition of the captured ship, by rendering it impossible to get her into port, has barred a contemplated reward of successful valor, I recommend to the consideration of Congress the equity and propriety of a general provision allowing in such cases, both past and future, a fair proportion of the value which would accrue to the captors on the safe arrival and sale of the prize.


James Madison, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/205761

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