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partly at another. The return cargoes are still more frequently collected at different ports; and not unfrequently, at ports different from those receiving the outward cargoes. In this circuitous voyage, generally consisting of several links, the interest of the undertakers materially requires also either a trade or a freightage between the ports visited in the circuit. To restrain the vessels of the United States, therefore, from this legitimate and customary mode of trading with the continent of Europe, as is contemplated by the order, and to compel them on one hand to dispose of the whole of their cargoes at a port which may want but a part, and, on the other hand, to seek the whole of their returns at the same port, which may furnish but a part or perhaps no part of the articles wanted, would be a proceeding as ruinous to our commerce, as contrary to our essential rights.
These observations, which are made in conformity with the sentiments of the President, cannot' fail, sir, to have all the weight with an enlightened and friendly government, to which they are entitled; and the President persuades himself, that the good effect of the truths which they disclose, will be seen in such measures as will remove all ground for dissatisfaction, and demonstrate, on that side, the same sincere disposition to cultivate harmony and beneficial intercourse, as is felt and evinced by the United States and their government. I have the honour to be, &c.
JAMES MADISON. · The Hon. David M. Erskine, Esq.
Colonel Lear, to the Secretary of State. Algiers, March 28,
1808. Sir,-I have the honour to enclose a triplicate of my respects to you of the 4th of January, and duplicates of that of the 9th instant, and the schedule of my account with the United States. Since forwarding the first of these, I have heard nothing respecting the United States, excepting by a letter from Mr. Montgomery, our consul in Alicante, that an embargo had been laid on all vessels in the ports of the United States.
It is with regret I have to inform you, that our affairs here wear a different aspect from what they did when I had last the honour of writing to you. On the 16th instant, "the dey sent me a message by my drogerman, that I should pay immediately sixteen thousand dollars for eight of the subjects of his regency, said to have been destroyed on board the American schooner Mary Ann, captured some time since, by one of his frigates, as mentioned in my former letters. I returned for answer, that I had not yet received any authentick advices of this business, and could therefore say nothing about it. The dey then sent me word, that he would wait the arrival of the courier from Alicante, by which I might receive some information.
But on the 24th, (the courier not having yet arrived) the drogerman informed me, that the dey had sent for him, and ordered him to tell me, that if I did not pay the money before night, I should be sent to prison in chains. I ordered him to return immediately to the dey, and say that I could not pay the money, without the order of my government, as it was an atfair out of the usual course of our business here, and that I was ready to meet the event. He brought me word, that the dey would see me the next day at noon, on the subject.
He accordingly sent for me at noor: on the 25th. When I entered the palace, I met Mr. Ulrick, the Danish consul, who was descending from an audience of the dey. He was seized by a Chaoux, who carried him through the streets, in the most indignant manner, to the slave prison, where he was loaded with an enormous chain; the reason assigned for which was, that he had been called upon for his biennial presents, which he declared he could not make, without having time given him, as the vessel containing it, and annuities for the regency, bad been taken by the English. On meeting the dey, he demanded from me immediate pay. ment for the persons before mentioned, together with an additional two thousand dollars for the boy said to have been carried in the schooner to Naples. I told him, with firmness, that I could not pay it without the orders of my government, as it was an extraordinary case, and requested time to write and receive an answer; but was answered, that if it was not paid immediately, I knew what the consequence would be. I replied, that let the consequence be what it might, I should not pay it. I was then ordered to leave his presence. On descending to the area of the palace, where the Danish consul had been seized, I expected the same compliment which he had met with, and was prepared for it; but finding no one to molest me, I left the palace and returned to my own home, where I supposed the orders would be sent to have me arrested; but the day passed without my hearing any thing more of the matter. In the evening I met the French and Swedish consuls (the others being at their gardens) and we agreed to send for the other consuls the following morning, to concert meabures for the liberation of the Dane. At noon we met at the Danish consul's house, with our respective drogermen, and proceeded to the palace, where we had an audience of the dey; who, after some conversation, agreed to release the Danish consul from his chains, at the intercession made for him. From thence we went to the marine (where the consul had been sent to work with the other slaves, carrying a chain of 40lbs. weight) to receive and conduct him to his house.
While we were with the dey on the business hefore mentioned, he asked me, in presence of the consuls, if I did not intend to pay the money. I answered him as I had done the day before ; to which he made the same reply; and I remain in daily expectation of experiencing the effects of this refusal ; which is dictated by a sense of duty, and a conviction that the honour of my country demands such conduct from me. I make no comments on the unpleasantness of my situation. My government and my country will consider it, and do what is right respecting it.
As it is very likely that the cruisers which are now fitting out will have orders to capture American vessels, I have written to our consul in Alicante by this opportunity, which is unexpected, and the only one likely to occur soon, to convey notice to all the consuls of the United States in this sea to guard our merchant vessels against the evil which may occur. A copy of my letter to him I have now the honour to enclose. In consequence of the barbarous outrage which has been committed on the Danish consul, and threatened to be put in execution against me, the consuls have been brought to reflect on their precarious situation here; and I trust, that in a few days, there will be a compact entered into among us, that we will use our best endeavours to enforce that article, which exists in all the
treaties between this regency and christian powers, securing the person and family of the consuls from violence and outrage, in consequence of any thing he may do in the exercise of his official functions; and I hope each one will bind himself not to do any act as a publick agent, while any one is held in, or threatened with, durance vile....Our respective governments, I trust, will sanction such a measure, and give orders to their consuls accordingly.
Notwithstanding all I have stated, it is possible that the dey may not proceed to extremities towards me, or commit hostilities on our commerce and citizens, until I hear from my government on the subject....But I have thought it iny duty to guard as much as possible against the evil, by giving notice to our vessels which may be in this sea, as well as those in the Atlantick ; for, at present, there is nothing to prevent their cruisers from passing the straits.
The camp is expected to march in a few days against Tunis, and their cruisers are said to be intended for that quarter ; but there is no doubt but some of them will cruise in every part of this sea, and probably go into the Atlantick.
With sentiments of the highest respect, and most sincere attachment, I have the honour to be, sir, &c.
TOBIAS LEAR. The Hon. James Madison, Sec. State
of the U. States of America, Washington.
Algiers, March 31, 1808. SIR, -A copy of what had the honour of writing to you, on the 28th instant, accompanies this, with its enclosures. The vessel which took the aforesaid letter did not sail until the 29th.
Yesterday I sent my drogerman to the palace to know of the dey what were his ultimate intentions (if he chose to declare them) respecting the business mentioned in my last; and to request that I might be allowed three months to reteive the orders of my government. The answer brought was, that if I paid the money in the course of the day, we should stand as we were before ; but if I did not, he would pursue his own measures. As I was yet uncertain whe
ther his threats would be put in execution against me personally, or against our commerce, I remained fixed in my first resolution. This morning, the two frigates, which had been preparing for sea for some days past, made the signal for sailing; and a formal message was sent to inform me that they had orders to capture American vessels. I saw them unmoor; and as I was now convinced from this, as well as from other indubitable evidence, that they had received orders to capture our vessels, (the threats of personal violence to me having had no effect) I thought it a duty which I owed to my government and to my country, to prevent, if possible, the calamity which might fall on our citizens and their property. I therefore sent to inform the dey, that if he should recall his orders from those vessels before they sailed, and make no renewal of them to these or others, I would pay the money; but that I considered it as a measure forced upon me, and as such should represent it to my government. The order was recalled after the frigates had got under way, and the money is to be paid to-morrow; which I shall obtain by bills on Mr. Gavino, our consul in Gibraltar, to whom I shall give bills on the Secretary of State of the United States to meet the
The frigates have gone out, and the other cruisers will be got ready for sea immediately. A vessel is expected to sail in a few days for Alicante, by which I shall write to our consul contravening the positive advices for our vessels not to leave the ports in which they may be ; but at the same time, directing them to be strictly on their guard.
I have this day had an opportunity of writing to Tripoli (which is the first that has occurred for more than three months) and I have improved it; and by the same route, to Tunis also, giving information of what has passed.
Painful as has been my situation in this affair, I feel conscious of having discharged my duty to my country in the best and indeed only manner in my power. While I could believe that the consequence of refusing to make this unjust payment would fall upon me personally, I was ready to meet it; but when I was convinced that my country would suffer in the persons and property of its citizens, 1 was obliged to yield.