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TO WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD. 2 - James Madison, The Writings, vol. 8 (1808-1819) 
The Writings of James Madison, comprising his Public Papers and his Private Correspondence, including his numerous letters and documents now for the first time printed, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900). Vol. 8.
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TO WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD.2
Montpellier, Sepr. 23, 1816.
I have recd. yours of the 20th. inst. The claim of Mr. Knagg involves an important question:—what is the effect produced on the salaries of persons made prisoners by an Enemy by & during their captivity?
Civil officers are of two classes. 1. Those holding during good behaviour.
2. Those holding during pleasure.
Whilst the officers of the 1st class continue and the officers are not removed in the mode authorized, the salaries are legally due, and cannot be withheld by the Ex: authy.: and it is understood that neither the capture of the officer, nor even the capture of the office by that of the place including it (unless peace shd. transfer the right to the possessor) annuls the office. The former suspends the functions of the officer, and the latter the office itself. In the former case temporary provision when necessary can only be made by the Legislative authority. In the latter case the temporary provision will depend on the conqueror.
With respect to officers holding during pleasure, their claim to their salaries appears to be legal, whilst their offices continue, and no removal, or other appointment involving a removal takes place.
The claim of W. K. then depends on the question whether his two appts. or either of them was of a nature to cease with the capture of Detroit and of himself, and if not whether, as no direct removal appears to have taken place, any other appointment was made, actually superceding his.
The latter is a simple question of fact to be decided by the evidence in the Dept.
The former question must be decided by the character of the appointments in the eye of the law. Is that of a deputy Indian agent, an office which would be vacated only not extinguished by the death removal or resignation of the person exercising it; or a personal agency ceasing with the non-exercise of it? Is the appt. of Indian Interpreter, in like manner, an office & an agency, as so distinguished?
Not finding it convenient in my present situation to examine our laws fully in relation to these appts. and aware that there is merit often in discriminating between an office & an agency I cannot do better than request you to communicate these observations with the interesting ones contained in your letter to the other members of the Cabinet at Washington; and transmit me the results of a consultation on the whole subject. Should there be no difference of opinion & delay be inconvenient it may be acted on, without hearing further from me.
Genl. Hull presented some time ago a claim for two salaries during his captivity, and pressed strongly the reasoning which gave most color to it. His military claim I believe was viewed in a different light from his salary as govr at the time when he was charged with the Expedition which had so unfortunate an issue.
[2 ]From the original in the New York Public Library (Lenox). September 20 Crawford wrote to Madison asking his decision on the claim of Whitman Knaggs to pay and emoluments when he was a deputy Indian agent in 1812 and was captured.—Mad. MSS.