Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Carmichael, 16 May 1786

From William Carmichael

Madrid 16 May 1786


The inclosed copy of a Letter which I lately received from the Ct. D’Expilly contains the best information that I have it in my power to Afford your Excellency with respect to the Situation of our Affairs at Algiers. Mr. Lamb arrived at Alicant the 24th Ulto. and undoubtedly will have advised you of his proceedings after Mr. Randalls departure. That Gentleman is now with me and avails himself of the present opportunity of Laying before you all the Information that he could collect. I expect Mr. Lamb soon at Aranjuez, to which place I go tomorrow and hope he will speedily receive instructions to regulate his future conduct.

If your Excellency after Communicating to Mr. Adams the Ct. D’Expilly’s Letter should think proper to sound the disposition of the Port, thro’ the Channel indicated, It will be a pleasure to me to receive your Instructions and orders. I take the Liberty of offering my services on this occasion because I think I can manage the Affair in such a manner as not to compromise the honor of Congress should any backwardness be apparent on the part of the Ministers of the Port.

Mr. Barclay arrived at Cadiz the 9th Inst. and I suppose may be now in Morrocco.

I have a Letter from the Spanish Charge des Affaires dated N.Y. the 13th of March, but no official Intelligence. I am sorry to find that no more than seven states have been represented for several Months past.

I drew on Messrs. Grand lately two bills of which I hope you will direct the payment. It will appear by my Accoumpts with the United States that I take no Liberties which I am not justifiable in doing.

The Spanish Negotiation with Algiers is not yet concluded. There is still a probability of delay. But too much has been done not to occasion a compliance with new pretentions. It is equally probable that the Courts of Naples and Portugal may not for some time at least affect their pacification.

I have the honor to be with the greatest respect Your Excys Most Obedt. & Humble Sert.,

Wm. Carmichael

RC (DLC). Tr (DNA: PCC, No. 87, i); in Short’s hand. PrC (DNA: PCC, No. 84). Tr (DNA: PCC, No. 107). Noted in SJL as received 26 May 1786. Enclosure: Count D’Expilly to Carmichael, 20 Apr. 1786 (DNA: PCC, No. 87, i, English translation accompanying a Tr in hand of Short; Tr in Carmichael’s hand and another Tr in an unidentified hand in DLC: TJ Papers, one of which was enclosed in the present letter and the other probably in that from Barclay to the Commissioners, 23 May 1786; PrC of Short’s Tr, with a translation by John Pintard, DNA: PCC, No. 84, vi; Tr of French letter and translation in DNA: PCC, No. 107). In this letter D’Expilly informed Carmichael: “I have expressed my regret to your Countrymen at their unseasonable arrival, and assured them on their coming that they would effect nothing. The Dey had some Days before declared to me, and that publicly in presence of his Divan, that he would treat with no power about Peace that had not previously made it with the Sublime Porte. The mode I pointed out would have answered infinitely better. Congress must leave you perfect master of this Business, and you must allow Mr. Wolf to act for you. As the measure is actually adopted, Congress must use another mode—that of beginning with Constantinople. You will find enclosed a Letter for my old and good friend Mr. Timoni, call on him, and deliver it to him, he is the only person capable of facilitating the means for making your Peace with the Porte. That with Algiers will afterwards be easy, more especially should you be so fortunate as that the Corsairs of the Regency shall return without having made any American prizes, and more particularly if they should meet with any of your Frigates that Drub them a little. Consult Mr. Timoni, he is a very good man, and no one in the world can render you greater services than he. Mr. Lamb will do me the justice to say that I have not trifled with him a moment. He goes away quite chagrined with not being able even to redeem his unfortunate Countrymen, who are the more to be lamented as every Body Loves them here, the Moors even cannot avoid pitying them, so well do they know how to bear with their Captivity. My wife departs for Alicant in company with Mr. Lamb on board a french Vessel that I have chartered. He has let me have the Spanish Brig which brought him here, by doing which he rendered me a service.”

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